Capstone Project: Transition of Traditional Relational Database Technology

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¶ … Transition of Traditional Relational Database Technology to Object Based and Knowledge Database Technology

This capstone project will address the issue of the transition of traditional relational database technology to object based and knowledge database technology.

Relational database

This type of database stores all of its data within tables only. All the actions on the data contained in a relational database take place within the tables and as a result an additional table may be generated. Nothing else is observable except the tables that are created for the purpose of data storage. A table is defined as a set of rows and columns and its elements do not possess any form of predefined order. Every row of the table comprises of a set of columns having only a single value. It is however worth pointing out that all rows that are derived from the same table do possess the same columns sets. In certain cases however, the columns get assigned NULL values. This is to mean that the value in the particular row is never initialized. It is worth pointing out that an uninitialized column does not have the same meaning as a NULL- valued column.

It must however be noted that relational databases do support relations (Codd, 1970; Date, 1985).The relations which it supports is made up of a set of tuples which comprises of certain fixed number of data which is primitive in nature. As a simple analogy. The rows in a certain relational database can be viewed as being analogous to a record while the columns are analogous to a field.

Below is an example of a table and the corresponding SQL statement which generates the table.

CREATE TABLE ADDR_BOOK (

NAME char (25),

COMPANY char (15),

E_MAIL char (30) )

NAME | COMPANY | E_MAIL

| Smith Kevin| Software Systems |

| John | HP | -- |

It is important to note that there are basically two forms of operations that can be performed on a relational database. The first operation involves the retrieving of data from the database. The actual process involves the retrieving of various subsets from the columns of the database and then the second operation involves the retrieving of subsets from the various rows of the relational database. Below is an illustration of the two actions on a relational database.

SELECT NAME, E_MAIL FROM ADDR_BOOK

| NAME | E_MAIL |

| Smith Kevin| -- |

| John | -- |

SELECT * FROM ADDR_BOOK WHERE COMPANY =

'Software System'

| NAME | COMPANY | E_MAIL |

| Smith Kevin|Software System | -- |

The two operations can also be combined as follows:

SELECT NAME, E_MAIL FROM ADDR_BOOK WHERE

COMPANY = 'Software system'

| NAME | E_MAIL |

| Smith Kevin| -- |

The two operations can also be executed between two tables while treating the two tables as two separate sets. A Cartesian product of the tables can then be evaluated and then the intersection between the two tables can be evaluated. One table can be summed up with another as an example.

Object oriented databases.

In our analysis we focus on object oriented systems through a careful introduction and explanation of all the basic concept of object oriented systems. In the process some opinion is presented of the suitability of incorporating the concepts themselves into future database designs. It is however worthwhile to note that the introduction into the market of very versatile and applicable systems like the ObjectStore (Lamb et al. 1991) have made it very possible to conclude that it is high time that a thorough analysis and investigation be launched in order to find out the possibility of migration from traditional relational database technology to both object based and knowledge database technologies.

Reasons for the transition to object oriented database systems

The increasing need for the transition from the traditional relational database systems to the object oriented database systems is fuelled by a variety of reasons and applications that are ripe to make use of the dynamics that can only be actualized through the use of the latest technologies in database systems. A perfect example is the applications of the object oriented database technology in the field of Computer Aided Manufacturing .Other examples include the use of object oriented technology in the process of designing office automation systems that are intended to handle various forms of data. The other application of the objects oriented database technology is in the hospital sector where it is used in order to design various forms of patient care tracking systems. A common characteristic of all these applications however is the fact that they are involved in the management of highly complex operations which involved the sorting out of various types of interrelated information. It is worth pointing out therefore the fact that relational database systems have failed in addressing key issues such as the handling of highly complex information systems.

The other main problem with the relational information system is the fact that in forces the developer of the system to forcefully apply an information system/model over tables in which the interrelationship between the entities are only definable by values. As pointed out by Loomis, the architect versant, an object oriented database management system; the relational and object oriented database systems can be compared as follows.

The process of designing a relational database involves actions devoted towards figuring out of ways of representing real-world objects by means of tables in manner that allows for the preservation of both the data integrity as well as the performance of the database. It is worthwhile to point out that the process of designing the object database is critical part of developing every application.

The classes of objects that are utilized by the various programming languages are the exact classes that are exploited by the object oriented database management system in use. This is made possible by the consistency in the models used. There is therefore no inherent need for any further transformation of the model of the program being used in order to allow for a perfect fit with the unique model that is presented by the database management system in use. It is important to acknowledge that fact that the initial area of application of object oriented database systems was mainly in the field of Computer Aided design (CAD), Computer Aided Software Engineering as well as Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) applications (Alam et al. 2006)

Once again it is important to point out that the primary characteristic of all the applications that make use of object oriented database management systems is their ability and need to offer efficient management of complex information. The other fields in which object oriented database systems find applications are office and factory automation. A perfect example would be the manufacturing of a motor vehicle which demands the tracking of several independent parts that must be assembled using different configurations. The only database management system that offers a viable solution to this kind of arrangement is the object-oriented database management system.

It is therefore important to acknowledge the fact that object-orientation is part of the effort by various database architects efforts to come up with a method of solving the traditional relational database related problems in a way that is more natural and even easier to fathom. This is better expressed by Brodie (1985) in his book regarding Conceptual Modeling as "The fundamental characteristic of the new level of system description is that it is closer to the human conceptualization of a problem domain." In other words, the adoption of object oriented programming systems can aid in improving the communications between various system designers. This would have the advantage of improving the time required to conceptualize, plan and execute the design of particular object-oriented database applications.

The database market is undergoing rapid transition

The database market the world over is undergoing a paradigm shift in terms of its need and offerings. This is because the period in which we are in is marked with intensive changes and innovations as regards the various database technology and its products (McClure, 1997)

Several years back saw the introduction of additional data types.these additional data type are commonly referred to as the complex data. These data types include multimedia data types such as text, image, audio and video. The other types of complex data are time series as well as geospatial data types.

Literature review

The current trend in database technology is one that will potentially expand the area to meet modern needs for information sharing and data management. The newest ideologies are functionally different from relational database technologies in that they demand much larger memory stores and most importantly are offered in a platform that to some degree thinks for the user or organization. The traditional database model, which requires searching and some initial knowledge of what exists on the system and how to access it is being replaced by systems that do a great deal of the thinking for the… [END OF PREVIEW]

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