I've designed a few databases in my time, and on more than one occasion the drive to abstract common elements from specific tables has led me to create generic top-level tables which contain those common elements. For example:
Table Column Column Hamburgers Item Topping Cheeseburger Tomatoes Mushroomburger Swiss
Could be "simplified" ("normalized") as:
Table Column Column FoodTypes ID Name 1 Hamburger 2 Topping Food Item TypeID Cheeseburger 1 Mushroomburger 1 Tomatoes 2 Swiss 2
Recently I've gone over the deep end with this approach, abstracting and re-abstracting a fairly complex database design until I was left with something both very simple and yet completely un-resembling of the actual data being stored.
This has led me to the conclusion that all databases could be "summarized" in a single monstrous table called "Entries" with columns:
ID Type Value1 Value2
ID Type Value1 Value2 4321 Item 8746 Descrip 4321 Food 5673 Item 9876 Descrip 5673 Hamburger 0341 Item 1234 Descrip 0341 Lettuce 5478 Relation 5673 0341 2381 Descrip 5478 Topping 2244 Relation 5673 4321 2160 Descrip 2244 Class 4436 Relation 0341 4321 7547 Descrip 4436 Class
Here, using these 4 columns in 1 table, I have created two objects sharing a common superclass, given them an attribute, and defined not only a relationship between them but the class of that relationship as well. We could now say "Lettuce is a Topping of Hamburger, both of which are Foods".
There would of course be a set of rules for this system, but that is beyond the scope of this question.
My question is, is this not logically the case? If so (or if there is a different, "correct" answer), what is this in relation to real databases? Does such a system exist, or should it not?
I'm not sure if I've gone far enough in my analysis, and I feel like I'm on the verge of some insight which is profoundly obvious to mathematicians and computer scientists (like "yes, all relational data can be described in terms of binary operands like F[a, b]).