I am trying to have a lean database size, so I thought that if an input, which will always be a string, should be checked for its value type and therefore saved in a specific table that is appropriate with its type. Meaning if an input represents a string, then it should go to a table that saves string, or if an input represents a number, then it go to a table that saves integers or precision numbers. In context, these tables serve the same purpose all together, to save a value corresponding to an input and another table that is related to the input.

My questions are is this a good approach to what I am trying to achieve, and if so, how can I achieve this without complicating my code?

I am currently using .Net framework and entity framework, but I can take out entity framework if needed be. Thanks for all the help.

Edit: I should have mentioned that my application follows a question-answer relationship, where the answer varies in data-type: string, number, datetime, etc.

Edit: Here is what I was thinking: enter image description here

If the input is a string, save it to a table that has a string column; if numerical, save it on a table with int column; if date time, save it on a datetime column.

If the answer needs to be accessed, it will be accessed according to the data type of the answer.

Because of the answer below by Robert Harvey, I realized that I am overcomplicating my design for the sake of saving storage space, and I am using more unnecessary data which will just be against what I was trying to achieve in the first place.

  • Ok. And the question is....? Commented Apr 6, 2017 at 16:33
  • What is your actual question? Commented Apr 6, 2017 at 16:34
  • This still needs more details: what are you doing with these inputs after they are stored in the database? It would be useful if you could sketch out the schemas for your proposal and how it would be accessed.
    – walpen
    Commented Apr 6, 2017 at 19:33

1 Answer 1


If an input represents a string, then it should go to a table that saves string, or if an input represents a number, then it go to a table that saves integers or precision numbers.

Fundamentally, a table represents a collection of entity objects. An "Entity" is simply the representation of a "thing," so a table is a collection of similar things having different properties.

For example, a contact manager manages contacts (lists of people and places). So you might have a Contacts table, a Persons table, and a Places table, with tables or keys that relate the records in each table to records in other tables.

Each record in a table represents a single entity instance. So the Persons table contains a Person record for each person you want to represent. While Person is considered a "type," it's not the same kind of type as a string or number. It is a complex type, whereas strings and numbers are simple types.

It's clearer, then, to think of a table as a list of records of a specific complex type, and each record as a list of simple types. So your Person record would contain a string that holds the person's first name, a string that holds the person's last name, a datetime that holds his birth date, and so on.

In Entity Framework, you will have a single class for each table. This class is the code representation of a record in a table in the database. So you will have a Person class that represents a Person record in the database table. This class will contain a property for each field in the table, such as LastName, FirstName and BirthDate.

  • I updated the question. My challenge is how to map an entity to a table whose property might vary in data type. Commented Apr 6, 2017 at 17:12
  • Reflecting on your statement single entity instance, I realized that I am over complicating my design. Thank you for your help. Commented Apr 6, 2017 at 17:21

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