Sunday, October 19, 2014

Precision, Procedurality and SQL

 by Erwin Smout and Fabian Pascal

"To be as precise as we possibly can is not a luxurious mannerism that the academic prig can afford himself in his (supposedly!) sheltered environment; for people facing the problems of "the real world" it is a Must." --E.W. Dijkstra, An Open Letter to L. Bass

From In Some Cases illustrating drawbacks of SQL in data computing and analytics
The computing power of SQL for mass structured data is complete, that is to say, it is impossible to find anything that SQL cannot compute. But its support layer is too low, which can lead to over-elaborate operation in practical application.
One of the four aspects of this "over-elaboration" is "computation without substep", but before we comment on it, the article glosses over an important matter.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Weekly Update

Housekeeping: I have added FUNDAMENTALS links on HOME page to:

 1. Quote of the Week
I am teaching a database design course next year. What do you think should be covered in an introductory course?
I have a requirement for an ERwin data modeler (Logical, Physical, 3NF and Star Schema).

2. To Laugh or Cry?
What would be key entities in Automotive Industry MDM

3. Online debunkings

4. Must read elsewhere
Out of the Tar Pit

5. And now for something completely different
Ig Nobel Prize Winners
Cry, don't laugh.
Hey There Little Electron, Why Won't You Tell Me Where You Came From
Israel is holding back channel talks with the 'Palestinian Authority' relating to Gaza, in which it is making concessions and receiving nothing in return.
The Tower cites a Wall Street Journal report that indicates that Western negotiators are so desperate for a deal with Iran that they are offering more significant sanctions relief for a deal that would not stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
Why the West is PostWest: The Blackmailer Paradox (Aumann is Nobel laureate in economics).

Monday, October 6, 2014

Tools Too Good to Be True

October post @All Analytics

The Wired article Ex-Googler Shares His Big-Data Secrets With the Masses touts a new tool that "mimics the way web giants like Google and Facebook rapidly analyze enormous amounts of online information." The article calls the tool "simple for analysts to query data from anywhere in a company with a single tool, regardless of where that data is stored, without the need to learn new programming languages."


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Weekly Update

1. Quote of the Week
Further to that point, in my mind you can have a database that is both relational and schema-less, in the sense that it is relational if the only thing in it is relations but it is schema-less if any data updating operation is allowed to change the number or degree etc of said relations, rather than that being reserved for so called data-definition operations.
2. To Laugh or Cry?
Turning dirty data words into sweet talk
And an oldie, but goodie
Gardner to DBAs, BI Vendors Reinvent Yourselves
3. Online Debunkings
4. Elsewhere

An old classic:
Unskilled and Unaware of It
and a related consequence
How Our Botched Understanding of Science Ruins Everything
5. And now for something completely different
John Oliver: Nuclear Weapons
Freaky Physics Experiment May Prove Our Universe Is A Two-Dimensional Hologram
About the PostWest:
PA: Israelis Must Return to Their Countries of Origin
How about the Arabs in Palestine, most of of whom originate in immigrants from Arab countries attracted to Palestine by jobs created by Jewish development?
If it's not Jews doing it, who cares. It's not so much care for Palestinians as it is hate of the Jews.
Any way, Nice people. Let's give them a state.
US Providing Indirect Military Aid to Hezbollah
Afghanistan and Iraq redux.
Go Easy on Iran So It Fights ISIS? That's Absurd
Indeed: Why should the US allow an enemy nuclear weapons, when fighting ISIS is Iran's own existential interest anyway? Let radical Shia and Sunni duel it out.
World Council of Churches Demands Israel Release Terrorists
Ah, yes, religion is the source of morality.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

New Paper on Domains

I have just published a new PRACTICAL DATABASE FOUNDATIONS paper. See the PAPERS page for pricing and ordering information.

Domains: The Database Glue 

Abstract: Domains are a fundamental database feature. Codd, the inventor of the relational model referred to them as the "glue that holds the database together". Mathematical relations are defined on domains and, therefore, so are their database representations, R-tables. Yet they are one of the least understood database features. This is both a cause and a consequence of the failure by SQL DBMS's to implement them truly and fully. The negative implications e.g., weak support for complex and/or user-defined data types" is claimed a weakness of the relational model, rather than an industry implementation failure. This paper
  • Defines and explains the domain concept;
  • Distinguishes between domains and data types;
  • Discusses kinds of domains;
  • Clarifies DBMS domain support;
  • Discusses practical implications for database and DBMS design.

Table of Contents


1. Property Business Rules and Domains

2. Domains vs. Data Types

3. Value Atomicity and Encapsulation

4. Kinds of Domains
4.1. Simple and Complex Domains
4.2. System-defined Domains
4.3. User-defined Domains

5. DBMS Domain Support
5.1. Complex Domains

6. Practical Implications
6.1. Relational Domains vs. Object Classes
6.2. Business Modeling
6.3. Database Design
6.4. DBMS Design
6.4.1. SQL “Domains”
6.4.2. “Universal” DBMS

7. Conclusion


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Weekly Update


  • Added a LINKS page to the top site menu, with links to items I deem worth reading. Added a few from my old site and new ones will be added as I come across them.
  • Overhauled the FUNDAMENTALS list of sources at the right of the HOME page. It now includes links to the bibliographies of E. F. Codd, D. McGoveran, C. J. Date, H. Darwen, myself and the old DBDebunk site @the Internet Archive. 

1. Quote of the Week
The future in data modeling is Object Role Modeling (ORM).  It is a far superior way to approach data modeling (compared to any record-based methods such as relational) that avoids all the pitfalls of "Table Think" and the necessity of normalization.
2. To Laugh or Cry?
Survey data model, what is the best approach?
3. Online Debunkings
Dr. Robin Bloor: Big Data is “nonsense”
4. Elsewhere
5. And now for something completely different
Senator Challenges Zuckerberg
American patriot.
The Exorcisms of Anneliese Michel

@The PostWest:

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Weak Entities, Referential Constraints & Normalization (UPDATED)

A LinkedIn exchange initiated by the question What is a weak entity? diversified into various aspects of data modeling and database design. My interest was mainly in references to the relational model that warranted debunking or clarifications. So here goes.