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Re: The wisdom of the object mentors (Was: Searching OO Associations with RDBMS Persistence Models)

From: Bob Badour <>
Date: Thu, 01 Jun 2006 23:39:23 GMT
Message-ID: <LUKfg.16278$>

Christian Brunschen wrote:

> In article <>,
> <> wrote:

>>>For a trivial example, consider an application that needs to somehow
>>>authenticate users (because different users have permission or not for
>>>different parts of the functonality of the application. The user
>>>information (name, password, etc) will have to be stored somewhere - a
>>>relational database might be an excellent place, in particular if this
>>>application is essentially a stand-alone one.
>>>However, it might be that the application is intented to be integrated
>>>into an existing infrastructure, that has user information stored in an
>>>LDAP-accessible database; or for another example, the user information
>>>might be stored in a Unix-style flat file (a la /etc/passwd).
>>Yes, authentication data may be stored in older obsolete hierachial
>>databases (LDAP). 

> LDAP is not usually considered 'obsolete'. For its specific purpose it
> appears to be fairly well-liked and in widespread use.

I agree that obsolete is a very poor choice of word. It implies unpopularity of something that might still be in good working order. In this case, the thing is very popular while not necessarily working all that well.

>>Using a pluggable solution is a good strategy here,
>>like JAAS if you are using Java. But I have never seen any
>>authentication solution were you actually get username and password

>>from the store. Instead you ask a serverice if your username/password

>>pair is correct or not. In this case, the interface sould not be
>>between the application and the database, but between the application
>>and a pluggable service.

> The interface should indeed be between the application and a pluggable
> service - but the database can be exactly such a pluggable service. SQL
> itself is a shared, well-defined common interface that permits using many
> different vendors' database implementationas as pluggable services.
> In the case of authenticating a user, when using LDAP as a back-end there
> might be a pre-existing 'authenticate this user in this LDAP database'
> operation available, which could be used to almost directly implement out
> 'wrapped' user authentication service; when using a SQL RDBMS as the
> back-end, we might store a one-way-encrypted version of the password in a
> column of the user table, and perform authentication with a 'select name,
> password from user where name = foo and encrypted_password = xh54k' query.

Or one might simply use the very powerful and transparent authentication and security features of the dbms itself. I see no reason to fantasize additional complexity.


>>There might be other examples there some data by techical reasons need
>>to be stored somewhere else but a SQL database, but that is still not
>>an argument for separating all SQL statements by default.

> The reason for separating SQL statements from the application code is the
> same reason as for generally writing functions/procedures/methods.

But I fail to see how abstractions separate anything from the application. The definitions of the functions/procedures/methods remain part of the application.


>>Actually it would also be possible to write an own ODBC driver catching
>>the SQL statements accesing the "user" table and call the LDAP database

> ... basically putting an SQL front-end on an LDAP database, in order to
> be able to use SQL as a common database interface? That's certainly one
> solution. My preferred solution is to define a higher-level interface that
> is then implemented using whatever each database's most appropriate
> interface is.

How does one create a higher-level interface in a lower-level language? Do you likewise recommend implementing higher-level interfaces to your C/C++/Java/OO-du-jour in assembler?

  The end result is essentially the same: There's a sihgle,
> well-defined interface through which we can work with the data as
> necessary from the point of view of the application.

What makes it well-defined? The relational model is well-defined equivalently as set algebra and predicate logic. What causes you to consider an ad-hoc collection of features for creating large complex state machines well-defined?


>>(I have done a similar solution while converting stored
>>procedures to Java. The client still thinks it is calling a stored
>>procedure in the database using "execute procedure abc()". But the ODBC
>>realized that this is not a database call and calls the appropiate java
>>method instead.)

> Cool. One could consider what you are doing as basically implementing an
> RDBMS with an SQL interface, which just happens to delegate a lot of its
> functionality to a second, pre-existing RDBMS with an SQL interface; not
> entirely unlike using the Facade design pattern.

So, I take it you consider expending considerable effort to re-invent existing services "cool" ? Does "cool" justify the expense? Are you the one actually paying for "cool" or is that someone else? Received on Thu Jun 01 2006 - 18:39:23 CDT

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