[DB-SIG] Re: [Pycon2005-attendees] Pycon2005 and database divide (ODB vs relational DB)

Bob Ippolito bob at redivi.com
Sun Mar 27 06:04:52 CEST 2005

On Mar 26, 2005, at 10:25 PM, john.m.camara at comcast.net wrote:

> Do all databases need ad hoc query languages?
> Oh, I can already feel the heat is on its way before I even get the  
> words typed out.
> IMHO, saying or believing a database needs an ad hoc query language  
> is equivalent to saying or believing a language needs static types.
> All Relational Databases lovers should now take a couple of  
> slooooow deep breaths and cool down.
> There are quite a few object oriented applications that require  
> only querying over a relatively few fields and thus does not need  
> the flexibility that SQL provides.  If such an application uses a  
> Relational Database it will come with some costs.
> - Query are slower - SQL Queries require complex parsing before  
> data is retrieved
> - Results need to be transformed to objects (takes more code and  
> processor time)
> - Refactoring the Application is harder and more error prone as  
> changes need to be done in many places (object model, relational  
> mapping, database, etc).  Just like the good old procedural days  
> when you had to remember to make changes scattered through out the  
> code base.
> - Storage requirements may be higher if the tables become sparsely  
> populated.
> - If tables are sparsely populated the code for the application  
> will likely have many if/else conditions.
> - Good object oriented design is likely to be compromised to make  
> working with a relational database easier.
> - Applications with high volumes of data may have to resort to back  
> dooring the data into the database.  If you every find yourself in  
> this situation you definitely choose the wrong type of database.
> As I stated in previous posts, I'm not against Relational  
> Databases.  There is no one type of database that is a silver  
> bullet.  They all have their strengths and weaknesses and for the  
> for-seeable future I will continue using the three types.  In  
> general I use Relational when I need an ad hoc query language,   
> Embedded when I need to save complex state information, and object  
> orient for the remaining.  In some applications I may use 2 or even  
> all 3 types.  In some applications where it may be ideal to use 2  
> or more types I some times make a compromise and use one type if  
> one particular type meets the majority of the application needs  
> well.  I also make the compromise for applications that have very  
> simple database needs.

MonetDB <http://monetdb.cwi.nl/> is worth looking at if you're  
interested in a hybrid model that has the relational database API  
when you want it, and something lower level and more efficient when  
you don't.  It also supports both the embedded and client/server  
model, and has some pretty impressive technology behind the scenes.

I haven't done more than play around with it, so I can't personally  
vouch for it in a production environment, but I sure want to at some  

(They also support Python out of the box)


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