When I read about the system versioned (and bitemporal) tables in MariaDB, I was both surprised and delighted. This kind of data versioning is thought of as standard in the “immutable” databases that are big in Clojureland, such as Datomic and XTDB. On the other hand, these databases in Clojureland are usually EAVT based and not the “usual” relational kind. After a little thinking I could think of a bunch of really tricky issues that could arise from system versioning (eg having a by-default immutable log of all changes to some piece of data) in a relational context. The first being foreign keys.
If you create a foreign key in MariaDB without any further specifiers, it assumes
ON UPDATE RESTRICT ON DELETE RESTRICT, meaning no referenced key could be changed and no referenced row could be deleted. Just consider this: if there’s a row in some table referencing a row in another, system versioned table, can the row in the system versioned “parent” table be deleted? After all the referenced version of the row will still exist… Or in a similar scenario if the “child” row is system versioned and updated to now reference a different row, will both of those referenced rows be
RESTRICTed? After all, both referencing rows will still exist… Of course I had to try.