The Shift Towards Object Identifiers (OIDs):Why Compound Keys in Database Tables Are No Longer Valid

The Shift Towards Object Identifiers (OIDs):Why Compound Keys in Database Tables Are No Longer Valid

Why Compound Keys in Database Tables Are No Longer Valid




In the realm of database design, compound keys were once a staple, largely driven by the need to adhere to normalization forms. However, the evolving landscape of technology and data management calls into question the continued relevance of these multi-attribute keys. This article explores the reasons why compound keys may no longer be the best choice and suggests a shift towards simpler, more maintainable alternatives like object identifiers (OIDs).


The Case Against Compound Keys


Complexity in Database Design


  • Normalization Overhead: Historically, compound keys were used to satisfy normalization requirements, ensuring minimal redundancy and dependency. While normalization is still important, the rigidity it imposes can lead to overly complex database schemas.
  • Business Logic Encapsulation: When compound keys include business logic, they can create dependencies that complicate data integrity and maintenance. Changes in business rules often necessitate schema alterations, which can be cumbersome.

Maintenance Challenges


  • Data Integrity Issues: Compound keys can introduce challenges in maintaining data integrity, especially in large and complex databases. Ensuring the uniqueness and consistency of multi-attribute keys can be error-prone.
  • Performance Concerns: Queries involving compound keys can become less efficient, as indexing and searching across multiple columns can be more resource-intensive compared to single-column keys.


The Shift Towards Object Identifiers (OIDs)


Simplified Design


  • Single Attribute Keys: Using OIDs as primary keys simplifies the schema. Each row can be uniquely identified by a single attribute, making the design more straightforward and easier to understand.
  • Decoupling Business Logic: OIDs help in decoupling the business logic from the database schema. Changes in business rules do not necessitate changes in the primary key structure, enhancing flexibility.


Easier Maintenance


  • Improved Data Integrity: With a single attribute as the primary key, maintaining data integrity becomes more manageable. The likelihood of key conflicts is reduced, simplifying the validation process.
  • Performance Optimization: OIDs allow for more efficient indexing and query performance. Searching and sorting operations are faster and less resource-intensive, improving overall database performance.


Revisiting Normalization


Historical Context


  • Storage Constraints: Normalization rules were developed when data storage was expensive and limited. Reducing redundancy and optimizing storage was paramount.
  • Modern Storage Solutions: Today, storage is relatively cheap and abundant. The strict adherence to normalization may not be as critical as it once was.

Balancing Act


  • De-normalization for Performance: In modern databases, a balance between normalization and de-normalization can be beneficial. De-normalization can improve performance and simplify query design without significantly increasing storage costs.
  • Practical Normalization: Applying normalization principles should be driven by practical needs rather than strict adherence to theoretical models. The goal is to achieve a design that is both efficient and maintainable.

ORM Design Preferences


Object-Relational Mappers (ORMs)


  • Design with OIDs in Mind: Many ORMs, such as XPO from DevExpress, were originally designed to work with OIDs rather than compound keys. This preference simplifies database interaction and enhances compatibility with object-oriented programming paradigms.
  • Support for Compound Keys: Although these ORMs support compound keys, their architecture and default behavior often favor the use of single-column OIDs, highlighting the practical advantages of simpler key structures in modern application development.



The use of compound keys in database tables, driven by the need to fulfill normalization forms, may no longer be the best practice in modern database design. Simplifying schemas with object identifiers can enhance maintainability, improve performance, and decouple business logic from the database structure. As storage becomes less of a constraint, a pragmatic approach to normalization, balancing performance and data integrity, becomes increasingly important. Embracing these changes, along with leveraging ORM tools designed with OIDs in mind, can lead to more robust, flexible, and efficient database systems.

Why I Use Strings as the Return Type in the SyncFramework Server API

Why I Use Strings as the Return Type in the SyncFramework Server API


In modern API development, choosing the correct return type is crucial for performance, flexibility, and maintainability. In my SyncFramework server API, I opted to use strings as the return type. This decision stems from the need to serialize messages efficiently and flexibly, ensuring seamless communication between the server and client. This article explores the rationale behind this choice, specifically focusing on C# code with HttpClient and Web API on the server side.

The Problem

When building APIs, data serialization and deserialization are fundamental operations. Typically, APIs return objects that are automatically serialized into JSON or XML. While this approach is straightforward, it can introduce several challenges:

  1. Performance Overhead: Automatic serialization/deserialization can add unnecessary overhead, especially for large or complex data structures.
  2. Lack of Flexibility: Relying on default serialization mechanisms can limit control over the serialization process, making it difficult to customize data formats or handle specific serialization requirements.
  3. Interoperability Issues: Different clients may require different data formats. Sticking to a single format can lead to compatibility issues.

The Solution: Using Strings

To address these challenges, I decided to use strings as the return type for my API. Here’s why:

  1. Control Over Serialization: By returning a string, I can serialize the data myself, ensuring that the format meets specific requirements. This control is essential for optimizing the data format and ensuring compatibility with various clients.
  2. Performance Optimization: Custom serialization allows me to optimize the data structure, potentially reducing the size of the serialized data and improving transmission efficiency. For example, converting a complex object to a compressed byte array and then encoding it as a string can save bandwidth.
  3. Flexibility: Using strings enables me to easily switch between different serialization formats (e.g., JSON, XML, binary) based on the client’s needs without changing the API contract. This flexibility is crucial for maintaining backward compatibility and supporting multiple client types.

Implementation in C#

Here’s a practical example of how this approach is implemented using C#:

Server Side: Web API

using System;
using System.Text;
using System.Web.Http;

public class MyApiController : ApiController
    public IHttpActionResult GetData()
        var data = new MyData
            Id = 1,
            Name = "Sample Data"

        // Custom serialization to JSON string
        var serializedData = SerializeData(data);
        return Ok(serializedData);

    private string SerializeData(MyData data)
        // Use custom serialization logic (e.g., JSON, XML, or binary)
        return Newtonsoft.Json.JsonConvert.SerializeObject(data);

public class MyData
    public int Id { get; set; }
    public string Name { get; set; }

Client Side: HttpClient

using System;
using System.Net.Http;
using System.Threading.Tasks;

public class ApiClient
    private readonly HttpClient _httpClient;

    public ApiClient()
        _httpClient = new HttpClient();

    public async Task GetDataAsync()
        var response = await _httpClient.GetStringAsync("http://localhost/api/getdata");
        // Custom deserialization from JSON string
        return DeserializeData(response);

    private MyData DeserializeData(string serializedData)
        // Use custom deserialization logic (e.g., JSON, XML, or binary)
        return Newtonsoft.Json.JsonConvert.DeserializeObject(serializedData);

public class MyData
    public int Id { get; set; }
    public string Name { get; set; }

Benefits Realized

By using strings as the return type, the SynFramework server API achieves several benefits:

  • Enhanced Performance: Custom serialization reduces the payload size and improves response times.
  • Greater Flexibility: The ability to easily switch serialization formats ensures compatibility with various clients.
  • Better Control: Custom serialization allows fine-tuning of the data format, improving both performance and interoperability.


Choosing strings as the return type for the SyncFramework server API offers significant advantages in terms of performance, flexibility, and control over the serialization process. This approach simplifies the management of data formats, ensures efficient data transmission, and enhances compatibility with diverse clients. For developers working with C# and Web API, this strategy provides a robust solution for handling API responses effectively.

Understanding CPU Translation Layers: ARM to x86/x64 for Windows, macOS, and Linux

Understanding CPU Translation Layers: ARM to x86/x64 for Windows, macOS, and Linux

As technology continues to evolve, the need for seamless interoperability between different hardware architectures becomes increasingly crucial. One significant aspect of this interoperability is the ability to run software compiled for one CPU architecture on another. This blog post explores how CPU translation layers enable the execution of ARM-compiled applications on x86/x64 platforms across Windows, macOS, and Linux.

Windows OS: Bridging ARM and x86/x64

Microsoft’s approach to running ARM applications on x86/x64 hardware is embodied in Windows 10 on ARM. This system allows ARM-based devices to run Windows efficiently, incorporating several key technologies:

  • WOW (Windows on Windows): This subsystem provides compatibility for 32-bit x86 applications on ARM devices through a mix of emulation and native execution.
  • x86/x64 Emulation: Windows 10 and 11 on ARM can emulate both x86 and x64 applications. The emulation layer dynamically translates x86/x64 instructions to ARM instructions at runtime, using Just-In-Time (JIT) compilation techniques to convert code as it is needed.
  • Native ARM64 Support: To avoid the performance overhead associated with emulation, Microsoft encourages developers to compile their applications directly for ARM64.

macOS: The Power of Rosetta 2

Apple’s transition from Intel (x86/x64) to Apple Silicon (ARM) has been facilitated by Rosetta 2, a sophisticated translation layer designed to make this process as smooth as possible:

  • Dynamic Binary Translation: Rosetta 2 converts x86_64 instructions to ARM instructions on-the-fly, enabling users to run x86_64 applications transparently on ARM-based Macs.
  • Ahead-of-Time (AOT) Compilation: For some applications, Rosetta 2 can pre-translate x86_64 binaries to ARM before execution, boosting performance.
  • Universal Binaries: Apple encourages developers to use Universal Binaries, which include both x86_64 and ARM64 executables, allowing the operating system to select the appropriate version based on the hardware.

Linux: Flexibility with QEMU

Linux’s open-source nature provides a versatile approach to CPU translation through QEMU, a widely-used emulator that supports various architectures, including ARM to x86/x64:

  • User-mode Emulation: QEMU can run individual Linux executables compiled for ARM on an x86/x64 host by translating system calls and CPU instructions.
  • Full-system Emulation: It can also emulate a complete ARM system, enabling an x86/x64 machine to run an ARM operating system and its applications.
  • Performance Enhancements: QEMU’s performance can be significantly improved with KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine), which allows near-native execution speed for guest instructions.

How Translation Layers Work

The translation process involves several steps to ensure smooth execution of applications across different architectures:

  1. Instruction Fetch: The emulator fetches instructions from the source (ARM) binary.
  2. Instruction Decode: The fetched instructions are decoded into a format understandable by the translation layer.
  3. Instruction Translation:
    • JIT Compilation: Converts source instructions into target (x86/x64) instructions in real-time.
    • Caching: Frequently used translations are cached to avoid repeated translation.
  4. Execution: The translated instructions are executed on the target CPU.
  5. System Calls and Libraries:
    • System Call Translation: System calls from the source architecture are translated to their equivalents on the host architecture.
    • Library Mapping: Shared libraries from the source architecture are mapped to their counterparts on the host system.

Performance Considerations

  • Overhead: Emulation introduces overhead, which can impact performance, particularly for compute-intensive applications.
  • Optimization Strategies: Techniques like ahead-of-time compilation, caching, and promoting native support help mitigate performance penalties.
  • Hardware Support: Some ARM processors include hardware extensions to accelerate binary translation.

Developer Considerations

For developers, ensuring compatibility and performance across different architectures involves several best practices:

  • Cross-Compilation: Developers should compile their applications for multiple architectures to provide native performance on each platform.
  • Extensive Testing: Applications must be tested thoroughly in both native and emulated environments to ensure compatibility and performance.


CPU translation layers are pivotal for maintaining software compatibility across different hardware architectures. By leveraging sophisticated techniques such as dynamic binary translation, JIT compilation, and system call translation, these layers bridge the gap between ARM and x86/x64 architectures on Windows, macOS, and Linux. As technology continues to advance, these translation layers will play an increasingly important role in enabling seamless interoperability across diverse computing environments.

How ARM, x86, and Itanium Architectures Affect .NET Developers

How ARM, x86, and Itanium Architectures Affect .NET Developers

The ARM, x86, and Itanium CPU architectures each have unique characteristics that impact .NET developers. Understanding how these architectures affect your code, along with the importance of using appropriate NuGet packages, is crucial for developing efficient and compatible applications.

ARM Architecture and .NET Development

1. Performance and Optimization:

  • Energy Efficiency: ARM processors are known for their power efficiency, benefiting .NET applications on devices like mobile phones and tablets with longer battery life and reduced thermal output.
  • Performance: ARM processors may exhibit different performance characteristics compared to x86 processors. Developers need to optimize their code to ensure efficient execution on ARM architecture.

2. Cross-Platform Development:

  • .NET Core and .NET 5+: These versions support cross-platform development, allowing code to run on Windows, macOS, and Linux, including ARM-based versions.
  • Compatibility: Ensuring .NET applications are compatible with ARM devices may require testing and modifications to address architecture-specific issues.

3. Tooling and Development Environment:

  • Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code: Both provide support for ARM development, though there may be differences in features and performance compared to x86 environments.
  • Emulators and Physical Devices: Testing on actual ARM hardware or using emulators helps identify performance bottlenecks and compatibility issues.

x86 Architecture and .NET Development

1. Performance and Optimization:

  • Processing Power: x86 processors are known for high performance and are widely used in desktops, servers, and high-end gaming.
  • Instruction Set Complexity: The complex instruction set of x86 (CISC) allows for efficient execution of certain tasks, which can differ from ARM’s RISC approach.

2. Compatibility:

  • Legacy Applications: x86’s extensive history means many enterprise and legacy applications are optimized for this architecture.
  • NuGet Packages: Ensuring that NuGet packages target x86 or are architecture-agnostic is crucial for maintaining compatibility and performance.

3. Development Tools:

  • Comprehensive Support: x86 development benefits from mature tools and extensive resources available in Visual Studio and other IDEs.

Itanium Architecture and .NET Development

1. Performance and Optimization:

  • High-End Computing: Itanium processors were designed for high-end computing tasks, such as large-scale data processing and enterprise servers.
  • EPIC Architecture: Itanium uses Explicitly Parallel Instruction Computing (EPIC), which requires different optimization strategies compared to x86 and ARM.

2. Limited Support:

  • Niche Market: Itanium has a smaller market presence, primarily in enterprise environments.
  • .NET Support: .NET support for Itanium is limited, requiring careful consideration of architecture-specific issues.

CPU Architecture and Code Impact

1. Instruction Sets and Performance:

  • Differences: x86 (CISC), ARM (RISC), and Itanium (EPIC) have different instruction sets, affecting code efficiency. Optimizations effective on one architecture might not work well on another.
  • Compiler Optimizations: .NET compilers optimize code for specific architectures, but understanding the underlying architecture helps write more efficient code.

2. Multi-Platform Development:

    • Conditional Compilation: .NET supports conditional compilation for architecture-specific code optimizations.

    #if ARM
    // ARM-specific code
    #elif x86
    // x86-specific code
    #elif Itanium
    // Itanium-specific code
  • Libraries and Dependencies: Ensure all libraries and dependencies in your .NET project are compatible with the target CPU architecture. Use NuGet packages that are either architecture-agnostic or specifically target your architecture.

3. Debugging and Testing:

  • Architecture-Specific Bugs: Bugs may manifest differently across ARM, x86, and Itanium. Rigorous testing on all target architectures is essential.
  • Performance Testing: Conduct performance testing on each architecture to identify and resolve any specific issues.

Supported CPU Architectures in .NET

1. .NET Core and .NET 5+:

  • x86 and x64: Full support for 32-bit and 64-bit x86 architectures across all major operating systems.
  • ARM32 and ARM64: Support for 32-bit and 64-bit ARM architectures, including Windows on ARM, Linux on ARM, and macOS on ARM (Apple Silicon).
  • Itanium: Limited support, mainly in specific enterprise scenarios.

2. .NET Framework:

  • x86 and x64: Primarily designed for Windows, the .NET Framework supports both 32-bit and 64-bit x86 architectures.
  • Limited ARM and Itanium Support: The traditional .NET Framework has limited support for ARM and Itanium, mainly for older devices and specific enterprise applications.

3. .NET MAUI and Xamarin:

  • Mobile Development: .NET MAUI (Multi-platform App UI) and Xamarin provide extensive support for ARM architectures, targeting Android and iOS devices which predominantly use ARM processors.

Using NuGet Packages

1. Architecture-Agnostic Packages:

  • Compatibility: Use NuGet packages that are agnostic to CPU architecture whenever possible. These packages are designed to work across different architectures without modification.
  • Example: Common libraries like Newtonsoft.Json, which work across ARM, x86, and Itanium.

2. Architecture-Specific Packages:

  • Performance: For performance-critical applications, use NuGet packages optimized for the target architecture.
  • Example: Graphics processing libraries optimized for x86 may need alternatives for ARM or Itanium.


For .NET developers, understanding the impact of ARM, x86, and Itanium architectures is essential for creating efficient, cross-platform applications. The differences in CPU architectures affect performance, compatibility, and optimization strategies. By leveraging cross-platform capabilities of .NET, using appropriate NuGet packages, and testing thoroughly on all target architectures, developers can ensure their applications run smoothly across ARM, x86, and Itanium devices.