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gnat (29)

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Journal of gnat (29)

Monday March 24, 2003
10:30 AM

More on the changing face of databases

[ #11200 ]
My previous entry on the changing uses of DBI is kinda related to Ziggy's comments. I've long mocked both sides of the "MySQL is not a real database" war. I'm changing the database coverage in the Perl Cookbook as we speak, and one of the things I'm doing is splitting the single DBI recipe from 1ed into many different smaller and focused recipes for 2ed.

Cookbook 1ed definitely had the mindset that you only use SQL databases for high-end high-complexity applications. But these days, if you have data then you probably have an RDBMS somewhere. It used to be that most people didn't know SQL, but these days it's almost a given. Now that SQL knowledge is ubiquitous, everyone wants their favourite data source to be SQL-queryable. And it ends up being easier to just throw data at an RDBMS than design your own DBM/MLDBM/flatfile/etc homegrown storage tricks.

So for a lot of the applications where MySQL is replacing a homebrewed pile of DBM and flat files, of course you don't need stored procedures and triggers and whatever other buzzword they're chasing today. That's the "MySQL rocks" point of view. The other side, "MySQL sucks", is where you have a large complex database with lots of activity--if you don't have stored procedures, triggers, and transactions, you'll find yourself losing data or having to reimplement their functionality in the client. And that almost always ends up being a lot of work with a painfully kludgy feel to it.

More philosophical thoughts on DBI and databases after I have some sleep ... :-)


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  • Except MySQL does have transactions of course.

    In my experience MySQL only comes short when you have Oracle DBAs designing your database schema. :-)

    (okay, so that's slightly simplified).

        - ask

    -- ask bjoern hansen [], !try; do();

    • A long time ago (87 or 88) a friend was porting Oracle to a platform (long deceased) that we both were developers on.

      He renamed it Orapig because it thrashed its way through massive swapping, even on the high-end system that had TWO memory boards (1 Meg each - for comparison, PC's of the day were still fighting to get past 1 Meg design limit).

      Our tech support person went out to a number of sales calls at the time and returned with a tidbit of information (obviously dated):

      Q: "What platform runs Oracle