[Baypiggies] Python ORM?

Shannon -jj Behrens jjinux at gmail.com
Sat Feb 18 00:46:26 CET 2006

I think RDBMSs are the best thing to happen to business software in
the last 30 years.  I *love* SQL.  However, with all due respect for
David, it does seem that the active record pattern used by Ruby on
Rails, Django, SQLAlchemy (I believe), SQLObject, etc. is actually
helpful.  I liked having the OR Mapper that Django provides, and it
*is* intelligent about generating good SQL and not pulling down
everything into the client.  I think the fact that it lets you drop
down to SQL if you need to is like having your cake and getting to eat
it too.  I've read a lot that says SQLAlchemy is the way to go.

Best Regards,

On 2/17/06, daveg <daveg at sonic.net> wrote:
> On Thu, Feb 16, 2006 at 11:32:44PM -0800, Laurence Clark wrote:
> > So what is the Python version of Hibernate? Or is this the wrong
> > question? Do serious Python users believe in relational databases? If
> > not what is the preferred persistence solution for a midsize data model
> > -- the kind of thing that would use a hundred tables or so in an old
> > fashioned client-server database application with a normalized
> > relational database.
> As a sometime dba and sometime python purist, I tend to dislike ORMs. They
> either run out of power or lead to patterns that fail to take advantage of
> what relational databases are good at, or become so complex that it is
> difficult to predict what they will do. Notice that all of them let you
> escape to writing your own SQL, a hint if ever there was one.
> Usually people seek more transparency and simplicity in code, but when
> it comes to ORMs some want a whole complicated layer of obsfucatory
> library filled with hidden metadata and covert code generators. It is
> almost as if SQL was all icky somehow, something to be ashamed of,
> covered up and hidden.
> Ok, the truth is, SQL is all icky. And historically relational databases were
> stuffed down our gullets by the likes of IBM and Oracle. Still the failure of
> ANY of the proposed alternatives over the last quarter century must signify
> something. Probably that everything else is either ickier or simply
> insufficient, or even that SQL systems are the best tool we have for certain
> problems.
> SQL is about sets. To use it effectively you want to express as much of
> your processing as possible in terms of sets and operations on sets.
> Instead of writing python to do something to one object, write SQL to do it
> to all of the objects at once. The more work you can force the SQL engine to
> do in batches and the less interaction with it you have, the better. To do
> this effectively, I think you need to understand SQL and have good control
> of the queries you write.
> One specific problem with ORMs is that they encourage "one at a time"
> thinking:
>     I have a customer Object, I'll just instantiate it here with a call
>     to the ORM ... now I'll have a loop to call the ORM to instantiate all
>     the Order objects...
> Which is just a relational join that ends up hand coded in python ignoring
> 25 years of industrial R & D on how to process joins efficiently.
> Think of Python as a car or truck and SQL as a freight train. The train only
> goes certain places and its all rusty and ugly, but if you have ten million
> tons of coal to move across the country it beats a million separate truck
> trips. And (to be completely unfair to ORMs) it really really beats dividing
> the coal up onto a million trains painted up to look like a truck.
> SQL is your friend, don't hide from it, learn to love it.
> -dg
> --
> David Gould                      daveg at sonic.net
> If simplicity worked, the world would be overrun with insects.
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