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Objects and Databases: State of the Union 2006


William Cook, the moderator of this panel discussion, is an assistant professor of computer science at the University of Texas in Austin. He is also co-author of the Dr. Dobb's article Native Queries for Persistent Objects.


William Cook, Moderator: Welcome, I'm William Cook. I'm moderating the panel this morning. This is the panel on "Objects and Databases: The State of the Union in 2006". It's very important that you keep in mind that the focus of the panel is on objects and databases, how they interact in general. It's not specific to object databases or any particular biased approach. We want to consider the problem in general.

I got interested in this because I was out in an enterprise software company trying to build applications, so I had first hand experience of the problems of building data intensive applications. So I am very interested in this topic. The way I look at it is that there are two aspects:

  • How well is the persistence idea integrated with the programming language where you actually build your general purpose solutions
  • How efficient, how scalable it is.

There is a tension, the level of integration and performance seem to be at odds, at least, we haven't gotten the sweet spot yet.

The other thing I wanted to say, in terms of historical things, just to give us a little context, for the object database viewpoint it is a little bit like there has been something like the A.I. [Artificial Intelligence] winter, I don't know whether people are familiar with that, where there was a huge explosion of hype around A.I. and then there was this gigantic backslash when they didn't deliver on all the promises, and so A.I. is actually coming back now a little bit more -- it is recovering from that.

My hypothesis is that maybe object databases experienced maybe an object database winter, and maybe it's time the thaw is coming out there. And for the other one that I am interested in is the whole object-relational mapping which is the other great thing that we do -- trying to match objects with relational databases. We have been doing that for a long time and I am not satisfied. That's not maybe as good as it could be, maybe it could be better. I wanted to challenge the panelists to tell me that as well. So those are just my viewpoints, I hope you all start having questions and write them down. And without any further due I like the panelists to begin.


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