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Objects and Databases: State of the Union 2006


Christof Wittig, db4objects: I totally agree with you Erik -- no uber model. My name is Christof Wittig I'm the founding CEO of db4objects, the open source database company based in San Mateo. We started two years ago and we're certainly news in the space because we're the only object database company that ventured for the last 10 years. And there's reason to do that other than trying to get ourselves hurt.

In fact, more and more people -- and that's the power of open source and the collaborative model behind it -- more and more developers understand that relational database paradigms are not a solution for all persistence tasks in object orientated environments. And they just don't want to believe what Microsoft or Oracle often tell them: Use ORMs and they will make the pain go away. So our 15,000 registered developers and growing a thousand every month, they understand there are spaces where different persistence strategies are needed and one of the options is object databases.

Object relational mappers are a band aid for a problem, they're not the solution. Ted Neward called it very nicely the "Vietnam of computer science": Object relational mappers are subject to diminishing marginal returns. You try to solve one problems and you get two new ones.

You see it in added complexity and deteriorated performance. He says there are basically three strategies for object orientated persistence. Either embrace objects, object databases; abandon objects -- that's a good strategy -- or suffer from object relational mappers. Many developers, that for instance build applications for these cell phones, or customers of ours like Ricoh and Seagate in consumer electronics, they understand that object relational mappers simply don't work on these devices. Market research shows that basically 50% of those developers write their own persistence solution -- and that's in 2006.

So I want to say there is a case to be made for object databases and whenever you hear someone saying "Object databases have no use to object orientated developers", you just can tell them "You simply don't know the space enough".


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