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Object/Relational Mapping is the Vietnam of Computer Science

 
 
Trans
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      03-21-2007


On Mar 20, 8:53 pm, "Austin Ziegler" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> On 3/20/07, Mark Volkmann <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
> > On Mar 20, 2007, at 1:43 PM, Austin Ziegler wrote:
> > > He knows what the hell he's talking about, but
> > > he's an abrasive man who often hurts his own points by his
> > > abrasiveness.

> > Hmm ... this reminds me of somebody else (Austin) whose views I
> > usually agree with.

>
> Like Pascal, I have little patience for people who speak out of
> ignorance, especially when they say stupid things like "I think
> relational databases are evil."


Oh, like you've never said anything "stupid" before. Ha!

T.


 
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Alex Young
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      03-21-2007
Austin Ziegler wrote:
> On 3/20/07, Mark Volkmann <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>> On Mar 20, 2007, at 1:43 PM, Austin Ziegler wrote:
>> > He knows what the hell he's talking about, but
>> > he's an abrasive man who often hurts his own points by his
>> > abrasiveness.

>> Hmm ... this reminds me of somebody else (Austin) whose views I
>> usually agree with.

>
> Like Pascal, I have little patience for people who speak out of
> ignorance, especially when they say stupid things like "I think
> relational databases are evil."
>

Having read Pascal's articles (and a few posts by some notable others on
comp.databases.theory), I'd say you're remarkably mild and restrained...

--
Alex

 
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Eivind Eklund
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      03-21-2007
On 3/20/07, Gary Wright <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> I'm curious as to why query language development got hung up on SQL.
> I've read a little bit about Tutorial D. Is SQL simply
> another example of pre-mature standardization?


From memory, and as far I've understood it: Sometime during the early
80s there was a rush to get relational databases out there, with
several vendors producing databases and wanting an interoperable query
language. As a result of some sort of differences, two different
groups were formed, both creating their own attempt at a standard
query language. Over time, a bunch of rivalry formed between the
groups, and each of the languages they developed had advantages in
some areas and disadvantages in others, so it wasn't possible to pick
a single "winner", and everything kept bickering back and forth.
Prestige entered, and none of the groups were politically able to give
in to the other.

Along came SQL, which was a toy language made by a single developer to
just show have SOMETHING. It was worse than either of the proposals
from the other groups, from a usability point of view (though with a
couple of extra features I don't remember what was that were useful),
and it was a possible political compromise. So, by shooting down BOTH
groups for something that was worse, a solution was possible. Thus,
we standardized on SQL.

Take with a grain of salt - this is based on renderings of history
I've read on the net, and reproduced from my spotty memory. Yet it's
a nice story that fits very well with my feeling about SQL ("Nobody
could really have meant that language SERIOUSLY, could they?")

Eivind.

 
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John Joyce
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      03-21-2007
Reality was uglier than that. More comparable to the browser wars and
implementations of html of the 90's.
But worse.
All the database makers had their own ways of doing things. SQL was a
pseudo-standard middle between systems that always offered their own
proprietary things as well. Like html and C/C++ and JavaScript and
everything else out there, vendors slowly merged toward more fully
supporting a standard by customer demand. You don't think Microsoft
was the first to think up the idea of using proprietary things to
lock in customers, do you?
Databases were the original home of neckties running IT.
Everyone was calling their SQL the real one, but none were the same.
(still aren't really) because they don't want you to jump ship so
easily! Long term licensing revenues with low support costs.
On Mar 21, 2007, at 11:44 PM, Eivind Eklund wrote:

> On 3/20/07, Gary Wright <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>> I'm curious as to why query language development got hung up on SQL.
>> I've read a little bit about Tutorial D. Is SQL simply
>> another example of pre-mature standardization?

>
> From memory, and as far I've understood it: Sometime during the early
> 80s there was a rush to get relational databases out there, with
> several vendors producing databases and wanting an interoperable query
> language. As a result of some sort of differences, two different
> groups were formed, both creating their own attempt at a standard
> query language. Over time, a bunch of rivalry formed between the
> groups, and each of the languages they developed had advantages in
> some areas and disadvantages in others, so it wasn't possible to pick
> a single "winner", and everything kept bickering back and forth.
> Prestige entered, and none of the groups were politically able to give
> in to the other.
>
> Along came SQL, which was a toy language made by a single developer to
> just show have SOMETHING. It was worse than either of the proposals
> from the other groups, from a usability point of view (though with a
> couple of extra features I don't remember what was that were useful),
> and it was a possible political compromise. So, by shooting down BOTH
> groups for something that was worse, a solution was possible. Thus,
> we standardized on SQL.
>
> Take with a grain of salt - this is based on renderings of history
> I've read on the net, and reproduced from my spotty memory. Yet it's
> a nice story that fits very well with my feeling about SQL ("Nobody
> could really have meant that language SERIOUSLY, could they?")
>
> Eivind.
>



 
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Robert Klemme
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      03-21-2007
On 20.03.2007 17:55, John Joyce wrote:
> I would argue that part of the problem is SQL being very unlike any
> non-database programming language.


That may be because SQL is not a programming language although it is
often mistaken for one. SQL, more precisely the query part of it,
*describes* data sets via set operations.

Although there are declarative languages around (IIRC Prolog is one of
them) most programming languages are procedural (even OO languages) and
so people tend to expect SQL to be similar.

Kind regards

robert
 
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Kyle Schmitt
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      03-21-2007
I hate to say this, but 10 seconds of fact checking says shenanigans.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sql
Summary,
It wasn't some toy language, it was a research paper by a Dr Codd
working for IBM.
In the 70s IBM made a relational database system and based the
language off of Dr Codd's paper, the language was called "Structured
English Query Language", later shortened for copyright/trademark
reasons

Read the article for the rest.

--Kyle

 
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John Joyce
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      03-21-2007
Ok, I read it. But never call wikipedia fact-checking!

On Mar 22, 2007, at 12:37 AM, Kyle Schmitt wrote:

> I hate to say this, but 10 seconds of fact checking says shenanigans.
>
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sql
> Summary,
> It wasn't some toy language, it was a research paper by a Dr Codd
> working for IBM.
> In the 70s IBM made a relational database system and based the
> language off of Dr Codd's paper, the language was called "Structured
> English Query Language", later shortened for copyright/trademark
> reasons
>
> Read the article for the rest.
>
> --Kyle
>



 
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Robert Klemme
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      03-21-2007
On 20.03.2007 21:35, Anthony Eden wrote:
> I have been working on the ActiveWarehouse project, which is a plugin
> for Rails designed to make it easier to develop data warehouses on
> Rails. As such I've spent the last 6 months research data warehouse
> techniques and technologies and have become quite interested as well.
> We use a denormalized dimensional model for our data warehouse, which
> is one way to develop a data warehouse, and it is working out quite
> well. With larger databases though, especially with both large facts
> and large dimensions, query response time degrades fairly quickly. In
> response to this I (and others in the AW development team) have been
> playing around with implementing alternate cube storage and query
> systems. One of the most promising is the Dwarf algorithm
> (http://citeseer.ist.psu.edu/sismanis02dwarf.html by Sismanis et. al)
> which I've been reading about for about 2 weeks now.


That sounds interesting. Thanks!

My general assumption so far was that every DWH is different and you
need to create custom solutions for specific applications - just to cope
with the exceptional data volume. But then again, maybe most DWH's
aren't that big and can be tackled with a more standardized solution.

Kind regards

robert
 
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John Joyce
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      03-21-2007
Ok, if you say so. Let's call it a describing language, but
operations like AUTO INCREMENT seem an awful lot like programming. I
guess we have to say Ruby is not a programming language either. It is
a scripting language.
hmm...
many sources do describe (no pun intended) SQL as a declarative
programming language. It isn't 'Turing complete' because it can't
create an infinite loop. Big deal.
That's academic nitpicking.

On Mar 22, 2007, at 12:20 AM, Robert Klemme wrote:

> On 20.03.2007 17:55, John Joyce wrote:
>> I would argue that part of the problem is SQL being very unlike
>> any non-database programming language.

>
> That may be because SQL is not a programming language although it
> is often mistaken for one. SQL, more precisely the query part of
> it, *describes* data sets via set operations.
>
> Although there are declarative languages around (IIRC Prolog is one
> of them) most programming languages are procedural (even OO
> languages) and so people tend to expect SQL to be similar.
>
> Kind regards
>
> robert
>



 
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Olivier Renaud
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      03-21-2007
> On Mar 22, 2007, at 12:20 AM, Robert Klemme wrote:
> > On 20.03.2007 17:55, John Joyce wrote:
> >> I would argue that part of the problem is SQL being very unlike
> >> any non-database programming language.

> >
> > That may be because SQL is not a programming language although it
> > is often mistaken for one. SQL, more precisely the query part of
> > it, *describes* data sets via set operations.
> >
> > Although there are declarative languages around (IIRC Prolog is one
> > of them) most programming languages are procedural (even OO
> > languages) and so people tend to expect SQL to be similar.
> >
> > Kind regards
> >
> > robert

> Ok, if you say so. Let's call it a describing language, but
> operations like AUTO INCREMENT seem an awful lot like programming. I
> guess we have to say Ruby is not a programming language either. It is
> a scripting language.
> hmm...
> many sources do describe (no pun intended) SQL as a declarative
> programming language. It isn't 'Turing complete' because it can't
> create an infinite loop. Big deal.
> That's academic nitpicking.


And I thought SQL could be classified as a functionnal programming language.
But yes, "describing language" seems to be an appropriate definition.

--
Olivier Renaud

 
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