In one particular app, it would be useful for the customers to be able
to specify the significance (and presence) of fields. For example,
consider a CONTACTs database. User 1 wants to have phone1, phone2,
phone3, and User 2 wants to have 4 address fields.
Generically, this could be done by having a CONTACT with, say, 10
strings, 10 integers, etc. The user’s account would specify the
significance of each field.
What isn’t clear to me is the toll this would take on a database. Say
my CONTACT looks like:
If there are hundreds of users each with hundreds of CONTACTs, these
extra fields lying around will take up space. Granted, unused ones will
be NULL, but still taking up space.
Another option is to place the “user-specified” fields in a separate
table, but this seems less desirable from a search/sort point of view.
I’d appreciate any comments on this!