Re: In an RDBMS, what does "Data" mean?

From: Anthony W. Youngman <>
Date: Mon, 7 Jun 2004 22:58:08 +0100
Message-ID: <>

In message <5k2xc.6205$>, Eric Kaun <> writes
>> A data model that can do this has many advantages.
>That can do what - model arbitrary data in its "natural form", whatever that
>means? I agree. If you show that to me, I'll use it.

And there we have our problem.

Yep, I can see where you're coming from, in practical terms. But can't you see where we're coming from? My problem, as I see it, is that 'arbitrary data in its "natural form" ' is NOT amenable to easy coercion into "relational data".

 From that, it follows that relational databases are the wrong tool to model natural data with.

However, as I said, I do feel that it's like the circle/ellipse problem that Copernicus had. IF people are prepared to *look* at real data in its "natural form" and develop a model that really addresses that, while it will make one hell of a mess of current relational theory, combining a "natural form data" model with the relational model will yield a very powerful database theory.

After all, isn't that exactly what I do when I insist on normalising all my data within Pick FILEs? And I really don't see the problems you do, even if the line-items come from multiple warehouses etc etc. If the relational analyst didn't foresee that, you're going to end up in an equally big mess (experience says "even bigger" mess) than a Pickie, if both are faced with the same analysis failure.


Anthony W. Youngman - wol at thewolery dot demon dot co dot uk
HEX wondered how much he should tell the Wizards. He felt it would not be a
good idea to burden them with too much input. Hex always thought of his reports
as Lies-to-People.
The Science of Discworld : (c) Terry Pratchett 1999
Received on Mon Jun 07 2004 - 23:58:08 CEST

Original text of this message