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Re: Date's First Great Blunder

From: Paul <paul_at_test.com>
Date: Fri, 23 Apr 2004 00:59:10 +0100
Message-ID: <cZYhc.32931$h44.4905402@stones.force9.net>


Dawn M. Wolthuis wrote:

>>Relational is simpler to the end user, but more complicated to the
>>database management software.

>
> From what I have seen, relational is definitely not simpler to the end-user
> of the dbms software (nor of any applications based on that software). Do
> you have any evidence to back up this claim? Thanks. --dawn

Not empirical evidence, no. But I don't think this is possible to get.

For a particular instance of a problem, it might be simplest for a user to use whatever they are most familiar with.

The thing about relational is that because it has complete logical/physical separation, it is very good at covering the general case (as opposed to a specific case).

For a particular problem, Pick might work fine, because it's physically optimized for certain queries. But say you want a different query that you didn't anticipate at design time, the optimization won't be there.

Relational does the optimization at run-time, not at design-time.

I think the only way you're going to get any sort of comparison between the two methodologies is if you have two equally experienced teams working in parallel from identical specs producing systems and maintaining them over several years. And repeat this for several different problems in case a problem is biased towards one methodology. But this is never going to happen.

I would have thought given your mathematical background you would appreciate the beauty and elegance of the relational approach. I find as a (totally non-scientific) rule-of-thumb that gong with the elegant solution is always best!

It may be that the computing power needed for an efficient RDBMS implementation is only recently available. So 20 years ago a Pick solution may have been a better option in a practical sense, because computers were too slow or lacking in memory for a RDBMS to really work properly. But now we've maybe reached the critical point of processor power and memory, so that true RDBMSs will really come into their own in a practical as well as theoretical sense.

Paul. Received on Thu Apr 22 2004 - 18:59:10 CDT

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