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LXer 04-16-2007 06:46 PM

LXer: Is the relational database now a commodity?
Published at LXer:

For those of us who were around in the industry during the mid to late 80s, it is interesting to think back to a time when vendors of relational database management systems (RDBMS) were struggling to be taken seriously.


fjd 04-16-2007 07:32 PM

I'm one of those vintage developers that remembers the early days. I'll like choice in technology and I like competition among DB vendors. If they become interchangeable I'm all for it. In retrospect there are a few major technology differences with then vs now. In the old days your system was usually built around a single database (single vendor) and the technology was usually deep and narrow. The programs were usually a single language like C++ or C and was focused on a single database platform Oracle, DB2, or Sybase. Fast forward to today and the applications have depth and breadth. Applications often are truly distributed over a fabric of various technologies and databases - even physical locations. You can have Java, .NET, Cobol, EAI, ETL, Oracle, DB2, raw IMS, MS SQL Server, etc - all to run an enterprise application.

I'm amazed that MySQL works so well, but I also know when I'm working on high volume enterprise database work I'm thankful I use Oracle. I'm not trying to start a preference war - just making an observation (or two). And yes I hope MySQL (and others) continue to grow and prosper - developers benefit. Yes I hate paying for Larry Elisons private island and mega yacht, but when I need various triggers that can be exectued, before, during and after a insert oracle provides for it. Even MS SQL which has come a long way still fall short on many of the features we take for granted in the Oracle world (or some other DB's as well).

I've been doing work with MySQL lately and it really does have some nice functionality and great performance. From a development standpoint I like that I can use it from a shell command prompt like sqlplus and I like the GUI admin and workbench. Those tools alone will help with the proliferation of MYSQL. But little productivity drawbacks: ex: When I went to set the createdate field of a table initially I assumed you could just set default=today() (or some variant) when creating the table DDL. unfortunately I found out you need to create a trigger on the table to so something as basic as set date. I know it's on a list of todo's in some develpers taskbar, but it's the little things that make a difference. Now java is comming out with Derby to have a local database in the Java tech stack.

Thanks LXer - interesting article.

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