Log in

No account? Create an account

The One True Relational Database Model

« previous entry | next entry »
Aug. 12th, 2004 | 07:47 pm
mood: amusedamused
music: Tom "T-Bone" Stankus - Existential Blues

Microsoft has a relational database on the front burner for a future version of Windows. Personally, I think they're barking up the wrong tree. If they spent more time building websites they'd know that hierarchical models with very tight scripting connections offer more performance and a higher level application model. Relational databases are good for factories and stores. Object databases map the model of the Web. Just change the slashes to dots and off you go. - scripting.com

Heirarchical databases and Object databases are arguably subsets of Relational databases. If you think your programming effort needs a 'higher level application model', you should go ahead and use one -- built on top of a relational database. If you have some data that you need to manage professionally, you need the structure and reinforcement that only the relational model can provide. If that means you need to pay me to build you one, then so be it.

If there's a better model than the Relational one out there, I want it caught and shot now to hear about it. Maybe what I mean isn't better model, it's better formalism. Sure, use a flat text file to manage your data. That's better for some projects, some purposes. But it will catch up with you (or better yet, someone else) as the project ages. (For your own sake, recognize when that starts to happen, and re-engineer the project.)

If you go through the excercise of designing a relational database for your data, the nicest thing is, your data will stay that way! almost self-organizing, and it's easy to discover new uses (new ways to use your old data)!

Heirarchical databases collapse under their own inflexibility.

Object databases look pretty but tempt you into omitting some relations that you later have to back-fill using "business rules".

Link | Leave a comment |

Comments {26}

Triple Entendre

Re: the pure thingness of the things

from: triple_entendre
date: Aug. 13th, 2004 01:12 pm (UTC)

I think a key to our cognitive dissonances ad-hoc query aspect. Ad-hoc queries imply that one has no idea what a user is going to do to with a system here I will grant you RDMBS and SQL is easier to use.

I put it to you that "you" (the programmer/designer/architect/etc) are a user of the data and of the system. At the very least, this can/should be true while you are creating it. Experimentation on normalized data in a good IDE with a query design tool will let you discover knowledge about your problem domain, knowledge that emerges as a logical yet inscrutable consequence of gazing upon the data (and poking at it dynamically and rapidly) in as pure a form as you can make it. Things you'd never have thought of if it weren't so easy to offhandedly browse through. deep, obscure correlations. Patterns. Perspective.

Reply | Parent | Thread