Re: The Practical Benefits of the Relational Model

From: Bernard Peek <>
Date: Tue, 1 Oct 2002 15:54:43 +0100
Message-ID: <>

In message <>, Nathan Allan <> writes
>Bernard Peek <> wrote in message
>> >At this stage, my question is, "what makes sense, going forward?" Should a
>> >new language be developed, that takes on a different from SQL's mission,
>> >but one that overlaps SQL's mission? It sounds, from the discussion of "D"
>> >and its family of languages, as though the answer is "yes", at least for
>> >some of the important authors. If a new language is developed, is that
>> >going to increase or decrease the total amount of confusion generated by the
>> >present plethora of languages? Does anybody care?
>> If there is a new language it may developed for marketing rather than
>> technical reasons. Microsoft would have a lot to gain if the next
>> revision of C# included direct support for database manipulation. They
>> could move a substantial chunk of the database market away from
>> relational suppliers if they incorporated object-based storage in their
>> next database and simultaneously in their programming languages.
>-There aren't any "relational suppliers!" (but I will assume you mean
>-Microsoft is ONE of those [SQL] suppliers, so why would they want to
>move people off of them?

There are several suppliers of relational databases. If Microsoft could change the market to one that demanded features that only Microsoft provided then they could clean up.

>-What exactly is "object-based storage"?!

It is a storage system which bases its interface on an object-oriented paradigm.

>I think you are missing the point. Let's recap: There are distinct
>advantages to using the relational approach to data management. For
>an implementation of the relational model, a single language is
>desirable for both the functional and imperative description of the
>application. So the discussion concerns languages with intrinsic
>relational support, not some object/relational mishmash, Embedded SQL
>or other such nonsense.

There are distinct advantages to the relational model. There are also distinct advantages to the object model. Right now most people accept that on balance the relational model has the edge. There are practical and theoretical reasons for that, but this situation could change. Any of the major database software suppliers could introduce such a change, Microsoft probably has the ability to introduce the change and make it stick.

>You assert that "Microsoft would have a lot to gain [by adding] direct
>support for database manipulation [to C#]." It isn't clear whether
>you are talking about relational support, but by your following
>sentence, I assume you are instead referring to making C#'s classes
>part of the SQL Server DBMS. Look at Oracle. They have done
>something similar to what Microsoft appears to be headed towards with
>Yukon, except using Java. Certainly nothing I have seen from
>Microsoft indicates that they have suddenly seen the relational light.

I wouldn't expect them to move further towards the relational model because that is an area where there competitors are already established.

I was thinking of something like adding a new scope declaration for objects so that they could be made persistent but in every other respect could be manipulated like other objects in C# or the other .NET languages.

>Your message betrays a need to research the relational model. ;-) I
>would suggest An Introduction to Database Systems by C. J. Date.

Thanks, I read it some while ago. I'm aware of the theoretical background to relational algebra, but I wonder how long it will be before OO databases have an equivalent.

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Received on Tue Oct 01 2002 - 16:54:43 CEST

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