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Beyond RDBMS - for interest only



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  • 1. Database and Information Systems Beyond RDBMS Lectures based on material from Phil Trinder (HW) , Connelly & Begg textbook Monica Farrow G30 email :
  • 2. Topics
    • Impedance mismatch
    • Persistence
    • OR Mapping Frameworks
    • Limitations of RDBMS
    • OODBMS
    • ORDBMS
  • 3. Basic Object Relational Mapping Programming code and SQL e.g. ODBC/JDBC
  • 4. Introduction
    • The situation is that :
      • Relational databases are highly commercially successful (Oracle, DB2, SQL Server, etc)
      • Most databases are relational
      • SQL is not computationally complete
      • Most programming languages are now object-oriented
      • Therefore many applications use a RDBMS as their data store while using an object-oriented programming language for development
      • This requires some form of SQL within the programming language
  • 5. Flattening
    • For anything other than extremely simple systems, it is likely that good OO program design requires :
      • Converting the ResultSet which is returned by the query into an object
      • Using the functionality provided by the object’s class to process the results
    • Objects must be mapped to tables in the database (‘flattened’) and vice versa
    • It is estimated that as much as 30% of programming effort and code space is expended on this type of conversion
  • 6. Impedance mismatch
    • This is the term used for the complexity introduced by constructing programs using these two different systems, relational databases and object-oriented programming
      • http://
  • 7. Impedance mismatch
    • Constructing programs this way is arduous and error-prone
    • Relational model uses set operations, Java has OO model with iteration, one record at a time
      • Data structures need to be constructed from the relations before manipulations, and flattened before storage
      • Relational Domains may differ from class types
      • The relational model does not support inheritance
      • ‘ Many to many’ relationships are unlikely to map directly to classes
    • SQL and Java cannot be simply combined
    • SQL queries cannot be always be statically checked and may produce errors
  • 8. Persistence
    • One of the most critical tasks that applications have to perform is to save and restore data
    • Persistence is the storage of data from an application’s working memory so that it can be restored when the application is run again
  • 9. Object-Relational Mapping Frameworks
    • Much effort has been put in recently to making object-relational mapping more convenient
    • The framework handles the mapping of the objects to relational database tables where they are actually stored
    • Selected objects are initially marked as being persistent
      • thereafter, changes in those objects are transparently changed in the database
      • the programmer does not have to write code specifically to update the database
    • Examples
      • Hibernate, Castor, OJB, JDO….
  • 10. OR Mapping Frameworks contd
    • Using a framework provides:
      • Transparent persistence
      • Object classes do not contain db details
        • The programmer can work only with objects
          • no SQL statements in the code
        • Could be used with different database
        • Easier to code
      • Mapping of objects to database tables is defined, usually in XML descriptor files
      • An extra ‘persistance layer’ is automatically inserted between the compilation and execution
  • 11. OR Mapping Frameworks
  • 12. RDBMS advantages
    • There are advantages in using a Relational Database Management System
      • The relational database has a strong theoretical foundation which supported the development of SQL
      • Simple
      • Suitable for Online Transaction Processing, which is used by many business applications
      • Supports data independence
  • 13. Advanced Database Applications
    • Many advanced database applications are unsuitable for the relational model
      • Computer-Aided Design/Manufacturing (CAD/CAM)
      • Computer-Aided Software Engineering (CASE)
      • Network Management Systems
      • Office Information Systems (OIS) and Multimedia Systems
      • Digital Publishing
      • Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
      • Interactive and Dynamic Web sites
      • Other applications with complex and interrelated objects and procedural data.
    © Pearson Education Limited 1995, 2005
  • 14. RDBMS Limitations
    • Impedance Mismatch (discussed)
    • Entity may be fragmented into many relations, needing joins (which is costly) during query processing
    • Semantic overloading
      • Only one construct (the relation) for modelling relations AND relationships
    • Poor at navigational access from record to record
      • Good for access by specifying criteria
    • Not enough support for integrity and business constraints
      • Referential integrity not always supported
      • Business constraints may need specifying within DBMS or application
  • 15. RDBMS Limitations continued
    • Homogeneous data structure
      • All rows must contain the same columns
      • All columns must come from same domain
      • Values must be atomic
      • Now some RDBMS permit Binary Large Objects (BLOBs), suitable for multimedia or other unstructured object
    • Limited operations
      • SQL does not permit new business-specific operations
        • E.g. intersection of lines, mathematical formulae
    • SQL cannot perform recursive queries
    • Not designed for long transactions – 2-phase locking is unsuitable
    • Difficult to alter the schema
  • 16. Example of complex data structure : Bill of Material © Pearson Education Limited 1995, 2005 Cake Icing Mixture Sugar Water Eggs Fruit BasePart CompositePart ConsistsOf Complex data structures can be more easily represented in OOPL (graph) P4 P3 P2 P1 ID 90 Fruit 12 Eggs 44 Sugar 0 Water Cost Name P11 P10 ID Mixture Icing Name P4 P10 P2 P11 P4 P11 P3 P12 P10 IDCP P1 IDBP
  • 17. Persistence through Object Serialization
    • Simple persistence method which provides a program the ability to read or write a whole object to and from a stream of bytes
    • Allows Java objects to be encoded into a byte stream suitable for streaming to a file on disk or over a network. The bytes can be rebuilt into a live object in the future.
    • The class must implement the Serializable interface (
    • Simple, but does not support DBMS features such as multi-users, partial retrieval, transactions, recovery etc
  • 18. Persistence through Object Serialization
  • 19. Using Databases
    • There are essentially three approaches which have been developed for the management of object storage in databases:
      • the Object-Oriented Database Management System (OODBMS)
        • Extend OO programming language with persistence
      • the Object-Relational Database Management System (ORDBMS)
        • Extend relational system with object features
      • Object Relational Mapping
        • Already discussed
  • 20. Object Oriented Database Management Systems OODBMS http://
  • 21. Object Data Model
  • 22. OODBMS Manifesto
    • To establish agreement on what an OODBMS is, (Atkinson et al. 1990) propose the following 13 rules:
    • Object characteristics
      • Complex objects must be supported.
      • Object identity must be supported..
      • Encapsulation must be supported..
      • Types and classes must be supported.
      • Types and classes must be able to inherit from their ancestors.
      • Dynamic binding must be supported
      • The DML must be computationally complete.
      • The set of data types must be extensible.
  • 23. OODBMS Manifesto contd
    • DBMS characteristics
      • Data persistence must be provided
      • The DBMS must be capable of managing very large databases
      • The DBMS must accept concurrent users.
      • The DBMS must be capable of recovery from hardware and software failures.
      • The DBMS must provide a simple way of querying data.
  • 24. The ODMG Proposed Standard
    • One of the crucial factors in the commercial success of RDBMSs is the relative standardisation of the data model
    • The Object Data Management Group (ODMG) was formed by a group of industry representatives to define a proposed standard for the object data model.
    • It includes an Object Definition Language (ODL) and Object Query Language (OQL)
    • It is still far from being as widely recognised as the relational database standards.
  • 25. Object Identity
    • In an OODb, an object is identified by an object identifier (oid), and objects are related by storing the oid of one object in another.
    • The crucial distinction between oids and addresses is that an oid is not related to the object’s physical location, whereas an address is.
    • The object’s physical location changes between main memory and the database, managed by the DBMS
    • The object identifier is not visible to the user or database programmer
  • 26. Using an OODBMS
    • The programmer defines the persistent data
    • Subsequently, they do not have to know about
      • Format of data storage
      • Transfer of persistant data between main memory and database
        • This happens transparently and is managed by the OODBMS
    • The programmer can start and commit transactions
  • 27. Advantages of OODBMSs
    • Enriched Modelling Capabilities.
    • Extensibility.
    • Removal of Impedance Mismatch.
    • More Expressive Query Language.
    • Support for Schema Evolution.
    • Support for Long Duration Transactions.
    • Applicability to Advanced Database Applications.
    • Improved Performance.
  • 28. Disadvantages of OODBMSs
    • Lack of Universal Data Model.
    • Lack of Experience.
    • Lack of Standards.
    • Query Optimization compromises Encapsulation.
    • Object Level Locking may impact Performance.
    • Complexity.
    • Lack of Support for Views.
    • Lack of Support for Security.
    © Pearson Education Limited 1995, 2005
  • 29. When to use
    • In general, RDBMSs are probably more suitable for databases with a variety of query and user interface requirements
      • i.e. most mainstream business applications
    • OODBMSs are appropriate for applications with complex, irregular data, where data access will follow predictable patterns
      • e.g CAD/CAM systems, manufacturing databases
  • 30. OODBMS Users
    • The Chicago Stock Exchange - managing stock trades
    • CERN in Switzerland - large scientific data sets
    • Radio Computing Services – automating radio stations (library, newsroom, etc)
    • Adidas – content for web site and CD-ROM catalogue
    • Federal Aviation Authority – passenger and baggage traffic simulation
    • Electricite de France – managing overhead power lines
  • 31. Object Relational Database Management Systems ORDBMS
  • 32. Market Share
    • RDBMSs currently dominant database technology with estimated sales $6 - $10 billion per year ($25 billion with tools sales included).
    • OODBMS market still small, but still finds new applications areas.
    • Some analysts expect OODBMS market to grow at a faster rate than total database market, but unlikely to overtake relational systems.
    © Pearson Education Limited 1995, 2005
  • 33. ORDBMSs
    • Vendors of RDBMSs conscious of threat and promise of OODBMS.
    • Agree that RDBMSs not currently suited to advanced database applications, and added functionality is required.
    • Reject claim that extended RDBMSs will not provide sufficient functionality or will be too slow to cope adequately with new complexity.
    • Can remedy shortcomings of relational model by extending model with OO features.
    © Pearson Education Limited 1995, 2005
  • 34. ORDBMSs - Features
    • OO features being added include:
      • user-extensible types
      • encapsulation
      • inheritance
      • polymorphism
      • dynamic binding of methods
      • complex objects including non-1NF objects
      • object identity
    © Pearson Education Limited 1995, 2005
  • 35. ORDBMSs - Features
    • However, there is no single extended relational model
    • All models:
      • share basic relational tables and query language
      • all have some concept of ‘object’
      • some can store methods (or procedures or triggers)
    • Some analysts predict ORDBMS will have 50% larger share of market than RDBMS.
    © Pearson Education Limited 1995, 2005
  • 36. The Object Relational Model
  • 37. SQL:2003 - New OO Features
    • Type constructors for row types and reference types
    • User-defined types (distinct types and structured types) that can participate in supertype/subtype relationships
    • User-defined procedures, functions, methods, and operators
    • Type constructors for collection types (arrays, sets, lists, and multisets)
    • Support for large objects – BLOBs and CLOBs
    • Recursion
    © Pearson Education Limited 1995, 2005
  • 38. ORDB Example - Oracle User defined type CREATE TYPE Name AS OBJECT ( first_name CHAR (15), last_name CHAR (15), middle_initial CHAR (1); MEMBER PROCEDURE initialize,; Code to define operations – here simply a class constructor CREATE TYPE BODY Name AS MEMBER PROCEDURE initialize IS BEGIN first_name := NULL; last_name := NULL; middle_initial := NULL; END initialize; END;
  • 39. ORDB Example contd - Oracle Using the new type in a table CREATE TABLE person( person_ID NUMBER; person_name Name, PRIMARY KEY (person_ID));
  • 40. Stonebraker’s View © Pearson Education Limited 1995, 2005
  • 41. Advantages of ORDBMSs
    • Resolves many of known weaknesses of RDBMS
    • Reuse and sharing:
      • reuse comes from ability to extend server to perform standard functionality centrally;
      • gives rise to increased productivity both for developer and end-user.
    • Preserves significant body of knowledge and experience gone into developing relational applications.
    © Pearson Education Limited 1995, 2005
  • 42. Disadvantages of ORDBMSs
    • Complexity
    • Increased costs
    • Proponents of relational approach believe simplicity and purity of relational model are lost
    • Some believe RDBMS is being extended for what will be a minority of applications
    • OO purists not attracted by extensions either
    • SQL now extremely complex.
    © Pearson Education Limited 1995, 2005
  • 43. Data modelling comparison ORDBMS/OODBMS
  • 44. Data sharing comparison ORDBMS/OODBMS
  • 45.  
  • 46. Summary
    • Relational databases are widely established
    • An application needs programming capability as well as just a relational database
    • There is an impedance mismatch between the objects in an object-oriented program and relations in the database
    • OR Mapping frameworks handle the mapping from object to relation
    • Object-oriented databases occupy a niche in the market. The data in the application persists from one run to the next.
    • Many relational databases now have been extended to support OOP concepts