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The One True Relational Database Model

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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".

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Comments {26}


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from: nobodobodon
date: Aug. 13th, 2004 01:39 pm (UTC)

You should mind your own business, sonny.

I like OOP, and I like relational databases, and I especially like it when they work well together.

I don't really enjoy discussing them, aside from the occasional grousing. I like to do my work, take my check, and go home.

I'm not actually using a formal OODB, I'm using a relational DB with a customized persistence layer. The problem is that this project has no database design, no data modelling of any kind. There's object modelling, and some post hoc mapping in the persistence layer, but getting the requirements dorks to give even simple data specs like maximum field lengths, allowable characters, and object cardinality is like pulling teeth.

We'll have hundreds of gigs of data that come and go through automatic feeds, and only the tinyest trickle through the UI, but 90% of the effort on the project goes into the UI. All of the requirements are written from a UI standpoint, and the external systems stuff has been mostly seat-of-pants work.

So, it's not really an issue with OODB per se, but it's annoying in many of the same ways.


boodly doodly noodly woodly

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