Storing tree structures in a bi-dimensional table has always been problematic. The simplest tree models are usually quite inefficient, while more complex ones aren't necessarily better. In this talk I briefly go through the most used models (adjacency list, materialized path, nested sets) and introduce some more advanced ones belonging to the nested intervals family (Farey algorithm, Continued Fractions, and other encodings). I describe the advantages and pitfalls of each model, some proprietary solutions (e.g. Oracle's CONNECT BY) and one of the SQL Standard's upcoming features, Common Table Expressions.
30th–31st October 2009