Re: Sourcing Metadata for Database Independence

From: Kenneth Downs <>
Date: Wed, 11 Aug 2004 10:25:16 -0400
Message-ID: <>

Dawn M. Wolthuis wrote:

>> > There are many different strategies for where to
>> > source such metadata (as well as how extensive this metadata should be

> since
>> > all code is, itself, metadata).
>> Code contains and uses metadata, but it *is* not metadata, imho.

> I knew others would disagree as I think I've said it before, but if
> metadata
> were to have an IF statement in it, would that make it no longer data?
> Are database constraints metadata?

Dawn, I'll take a stab at that. My own practical experience is this: data is a portable appreciating asset, code is a non-portable depreciating asset. In other words, my prosperity is linked to the ratio of my investments in atomic data vs code. Therefore, regardless of anybody's theory, I cannot in practice treat the two of them as the same thing because if I do my bottom line will suffer.

Now, why isn't code another form of data? Here is one reason, amongst many. Because the process of generating code out of data is cheap, and the process of parsing code to get data is expensive. Only if my data is completely devoid of parsable expressions, that is, only if it does not contain that IF statement, can I manage the data purely with data-manipulation techniques and confidently grind out reams of app code without fear. As soon as it contains expressions that must be parsed, my simple one-way generator is now a two-way interpreter/generator. No thanks.

Hope this sheds light.

Kenneth Downs
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Received on Wed Aug 11 2004 - 16:25:16 CEST

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