What's the better table structure approach for storing properties?

I would prefer

  • A multiple tables

    Votes: 3 100.0%
  • B one table with all properties

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • C ...

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters


Well-known member
Storing properties for planes, what's the better and more convenient approach?
table plane: plane_id, name
1, airbus
3, cessna

A) I could create a table for each property ...
table plane_speed: speed_id, plane_id, speed

table plane_color: color_id, plane_id, color
B) ... or store all properties in one table:
table plane_description: desc_id, plane_id, description, property
1, 1, speed, 900
2, 3, speed, 450
3, 3, color, white


XenForo moderator
Staff member
It largely depends on the queries you intend to run.
There's no point having the data spread across multiple tables if all you're going to do is joins.

It's likely that the schema will change as you start to write the code, once you realise the optimum configuration.


Well-known member
What kind of data do you intend to pull? Things like averages, min-max, combinations of properties, conditions, or other calculations. Or just a simple storage of singular data?

Luke F

Well-known member
B is more of a metadata/nosql approach. You really shouldn't use it if at all possible, except for storing arbitrary objects that you have to read or query against at the DB level

If you know the fields in advance (even if some will be left out), then A is pretty much always the better approach in a relational database

If you had a good reason to be considering B (not really seeing any in your simplified example), it might be worth considering using something like mongodb instead of mysql
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Well-known member
Hi Luke, thanks for your answer. Why might A be better than B, I haven't figured it out. Is it because of performance?

B is obviously easier to implement and you do not have to add a Datawriter and Model each time a new property is added.


Well-known member
I gave it some thoughts and remembered about database normalization from my classes.

I also so much do not agree with the way xenforo handles user profile fields, they are mostly useless for me in their current non normalized status. So if I want to really use that data later I would have to normalize it anyway.