Where opinions have been made, I will present my own counter-argument. There is a common term you may have seen online or in print, usually regarding technology: Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt , or FUD. It is my belief that Gutteridge is peddling FUD in order to increase sales of his book, and possibly increase revenue for his business. That is the position or bias of this essay.
These are just the pieces to which I am responding. A casual observer might say that Gutteridge has an axe to grind — or a bone to pick — with relational databases.
It raises a number of questions, and the responses by the general public to some of these pieces are quite strong. Clearly Gutteridge has touched a nerve with the relational database crowd. There is one question I must pose in light of this negativity. Is Gutteridge trolling us? Perhaps his series of posts is a way to garner attention. While Gutteridge enumerates some issues in the piece, they cannot be directly attributed to specific flaws in the relational model, as I will demonstrate.
File Extensions and File Formats
This is completely removed from our business-centric concept of a relationship, where there has to be some kind of a connection. If you had a group of pairs of objects and someone told you they were related, you would look for some kind of connection.
There might be a table representing members of staff at the school, and another table representing classrooms. The relational model expects that there is a logical, recognisable, appropriate connection between the columns and rows in each table, as well as a relationship between those two tables where members of staff are assigned to a classroom. No they cannot. Using the industry standard of third-normal form, this should never happen. Structured data is organised into logical segments for a reason. If grouping happens by chance, it is not structured data, and you should immediately hire a data professional.
Once again we step back in history as Gutteridge discusses the Anglo-Boer War. GO is for the database client and for human operators to make code more legible. But as we read further, his main complaint is a concept called SQL injection. According to Gutteridge, relational databases are bad because SQL injection is possible. Yes, SQL injection is a real thing, and is the result of permitting unsanitised user input in an application. Like any computer software, a relational database will do what it is told, even if the instructions are in a language that looks a lot like English and contains stop words.
SQL injection is most often caused by inexperienced software developers, not database administrators. Any poorly-designed interface that allows unsanitised input should never be put into a production environment. All data that is entered by a user should be validated and sanitised before it gets to the database. This is not hard to do, and most programming languages do it. It even has a name: parameterization. NET developers part 1: Injection. Remember that this writing to the database is being done by a task that has to have sufficient rights to update the database.
Relational model - Wikipedia
This statement baffles me. On the one hand, Gutteridge claims that relational databases are bad because SQL injection is possible. On the other hand, you need to have sufficient rights to make changes to the database. Which is it? SQL Server and other relational database management systems can assign permissions to every single object in the database. Users might have read-only access to certain tables.
Updates to the database might be performed exclusively through stored procedures, with the underlying tables safely protected. All data and table modifications can be tracked and audited. Gutteridge also fails to mention that unsanitised user input can affect compiled application code as well. All software must operate in computer memory. While we think of data and the application code itself as separate, the boundaries can becomes hazy in memory.
Relational Database - Selected Writings
Consider the example of a Windows application with a simple textbox. Assume that there is no validation on the input, and no limit on the size of data that can be pasted in there. Now imagine what would happen to the application and the computer memory if I pasted the complete works of William Shakespeare into that box. What will the application do? I could restart the application and do the same thing, eventually causing the computer to run out of memory and possibly crash.
I could never do that. Well, you couldn't be more wrong! The most successful marketers are data-driven, and one of the most important parts of being data-driven is being able to collect data from databases quickly. If your company already stores data in a database, you may need to learn SQL to access the data.
But not to worry -- you're in the right place to get started! Start by downloading one of these options, and then talk to your company about how to connect to your database.
The option that you choose will depend on your product's backend, so check with your product team to make sure you select the correct one. The beauty of SQL is that anyone working at a company that stores data in a relational database can use it. And chances are, yours does. If you work for a software company and want to pull usage data on your customers, you can do that using SQL. Think about it this way: Have you ever opened a very large data set in Excel, only for your computer to freeze or even shut down?
SQL allows you to access only certain parts of your data at a time so you don't have to download the data into a CSV, manipulate it, and possibly overload Excel. In other words, SQL takes care of the data analysis that you may be used to doing in Excel. Before you get started, it's important to become accustomed to your database and its hierarchy. If you have multiple databases of data, you'll need to zero in on the location of the data you want to work with.
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Finally, you need to find out which fields are in the tables. Fields are the specific pieces of data that you can pull from your database.
That will provide a list of all of the data that you can pull using SQL. Who are the people who have red hair in Massachusetts and were born in organized in alphabetical order? This is the specific piece of information that you want to pull from your database. Because we're looking for people in Massachusetts specifically, we'll pull data from that specific table. In our example, we want to filter our query to include only people with red hair who were born in Let's start with the red hair filter.
Since our WHERE statement is taken up by the red hair criteria, how can we filter by a specific year of birth as well? Relational Databases: When to Use What. DZone 's Guide to. Free Resource. Like 3. Join the DZone community and get the full member experience.
Join For Free. Some of those reasons are: Relational databases are highly available and highly consistent. Thereby running atomic operations on them is a piece of cake and they run very well i. Hence, if you are looking for normal CRUD operation type websites, a relational database is still a solid option to choose.
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These databases provide excellent support for horizontal scalability.
Related Relational database/ , Selected writings
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