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The Development of Object-Oriented Database Systems.

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The Development of Object-Oriented Database Systems Abstract Over the last few years the advent of object-oriented programming and the shortfalls that existed in database technologies with respect to the requirements of today's more complex applications have led to the development of object-oriented database systems (OODBSs). Compared to traditional relational database technology, object-oriented databases are much more powerful at modelling complex real-world problems. However, unlike relational databases, object-oriented databases are still in their formative years, and a great deal more research into the area is needed if they are take a primary role in the database market. This report presents an overview of object-oriented concepts, aims to investigate how object-oriented databases have developed, and will endeavour to identify the strengths and weaknesses that are associated with them. 1) Introduction 2 2) The Beginnings of OO 3 3) So, what is an object-oriented database? 4 4) Object-Oriented Concepts 5 5) Current Object-Oriented Database Options 6 Object-oriented Middleware 6 Relational Databases 7 Object-relational Databases 7 Object-oriented Databases 8 6) The Strengths & Weaknesses of Object-Oriented Databases 8 6.1) Strengths 8 6.2) Weaknesses 9 7) Summary 10 Bibliography 12 1) Introduction Relational database systems came about in the late 1960's and at the time they were considered a great improvement over the previous database models. There were, and still are mostly used in traditional business systems such as stock and banking for storing large amounts of data. Today relational models are still considered to be a revolution in database technology and because they are so good at managing huge amounts of data are still by far the most widely used databases. During the 1980's with the emergence of much more complex applications came the realisation that the relational model showed areas of inadequacy with respect to the complex object relationships and data manipulation required by these newer applications. ...read more.


Polymorphism Polymorphism allows behaviours that are defined for one object to be shared among other objects. These objects can then extend the behaviours to make them unique unto themselves. Polymorphism is essential in facilitating reuse. 5) Current Object-Oriented Database Options Over the past few years, database technology has diversified to give the developer four main choices with regard to database systems: Object-oriented Middleware, the traditional Relational database, the Object-relational database, and finally, the Object-oriented database. Object-oriented Middleware The first of these approaches is known as 'middleware'. 'Middleware' systems allow the integration of object-oriented applications and relational data. They sit between the object-oriented, processing front end and relational, data storage back end and essentially can allow the users to query or process either relational or/and object-oriented databases. The need for these systems has come about mainly from large companies needing to tie in legacy systems, which have come about through mergers or acquisitions. They can take advantage of the new technology by connecting these disparate systems, and thus save on the costs that would be incurred by having to develop a totally new system. There is a diverse range of 'middleware' tools available on the market that conform to the ODMG model. An example of such a tool is 'objectDRIVERTM'. "ObjectDRIVER is a middleware tool with which one can create an ODMG compliant Object Oriented Database Management Systems (OODBMS) on top of heterogeneous Relational Database Management Systems (RDBMS). It offers C++ and Java language bindings and an Object Query Language (OQL) interface. ObjectDRIVER is particularly well suited to: 1) Reuse of existing databases, 2) Addition of persistence to Object Oriented applications" (Abriev.) ...read more.


Further more, once the change has been made it is even more difficult to change back. Skills Requirements As object-oriented databases are still used in a minority compared to relational databases there is a lack of individuals possessing the knowledge needed for development, administration and maintenance of object-oriented databases. Developers moving into an object-oriented environment from a procedural programming environment will need substantial education and training. Object-oriented programming has quite a steep learning curve, and in an order to grasp the concepts, developers need to totally change the way they think and learnt about programming. 7) Summary Relational database systems were originally designed to store limited type, fixed length data on mainframe computers that served a large numbers of users. However, many of the applications in use today, i.e. knowledge base, multimedia, CAD/CAE systems, are used by relatively few users, but involve much more complex data. Over the last few years, it has become clear that relational databases are inadequate for many of these complex applications. Object-oriented programming languages have brought about a new database model based on object-oriented technologies. Object-oriented database systems are much better at handling complex real-world objects, they allow for a rich, extensible type system, and offer increased productivity through the extensible reuse of program components. Object-oriented database technology has diversified to offer three main approaches with regard to database development: Object-oriented Middleware, the traditional Relational database, the Object-relational database, and finally, the Object-oriented database. Although object-oriented database systems do appear to meet the inadequacies of the relational model, they still only claim about 10% of the database market. There are many issues and weaknesses, such as the lack of a universal data model and language, the limited platform support, and the lack of developer skills, that will need to be resolved if object-oriented databases are to take the market lead. ...read more.

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