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Databases: Object Oriented vs. Relational

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  • Re:Persistance does not make a DB; RevAaron (125240); 23 Sep 2003; mdash; from the parent post: "Can someone enlighten me here? There's an incompatibility between OO and RDBMS? How so?"
No incompatibility per se, but it's a rough analogy. People often use an SQL RDBMS along with some layer in between it and their OO language, the layer "flattening" objects into rows in the database, and then dynamically reinstantiating the row into an object in that language.

This is all fine and dandy when you have simple data- a "Person" object filled with nothing but integers and strings flattens fine into an SQL row. But then again, you're kind of just using that object as something not much more than a C struct.

However, when you have more active objects- which generally arise when you are actually doing good OO design and programming- the interface falls apart some. What if I've got my data objects pointing to other complex objects, rather than just elemental/translatable types like strings, numbers, and dates? What if the state of object A depends directly on what is going on in object B?

In an OORDBMS translation system, the objects are essentially dead while in storage. Object A can point to Object B - another row in a different database which holds data from a different class- but it dead.

A good object oriented database, like GemStone (for Java or Smalltalk) allows the objects to remain "alive" while in storage. I have never used or read much about this Prevayler db, so I don't know where it lies. There are some database systems which claim to be an "OODB," but are little more than an RDBMS and an object translation layer built in.

Not all applications benefit from the OODB methodology, but there are plenty which do. For an OO system which saw some decent design, an OODB is often a good fit. If all of your data is relatively simple- for instance, a customer and parts database on an e-commerce site- an SQL database will probably fit well enough.

  • (rhk) [[][]]; ; ; —

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  • () RandyKramer - 06 Oct 2003
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Topic revision: r1 - 2003-10-06 - RandyKramer
 
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