Writing Comments table in database

I'm working on a social networking system that will have comments coming from several different locations. One could be friends, one could be events, one could be groups--much like Facebook. What I'm wondering is, from a practical standpoint, what would be the simplest way to write a comments table? Should I do it all in one table and allow foreign keys to all sorts of different tables, or should each distinct table have its own comment table? Thanks for the help!

Answers


A single comments table is the more elegant design, I think. Rather than multiple FKs though, consider an intermediate table - CommentedItem. So Friend, Event, Group, etc all have FKs to CommentedItem, and you create a CommentedItem row for each new row in each of those tables. Now Comments only needs one FK, to CommentedItem. For example, to get all Comments for a given Friend:

SELECT * FROM Comment c
JOIN CommentedItem ci on c.CommentedItemId = ci.CommentedItemId
JOIN Friend f on f.CommentedItemId = ci.CommentedItemId
WHERE f.FriendId = @FriendId

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