What's Wrong With ORM

Nigel Hamilton nigel at turbo10.com
Sat Mar 25 07:23:57 GMT 2006

> Nigel Hamilton <nigel at turbo10.com> wrote:
>> Why do we even have an ORM problem?
>> It seems like eons ago that programmers suffered from limited diskspace
>> ... back then normalisation was required to break things into multiple
>> 'related' tables to avoid data being repeated. Thanks also to the tyranny
>> of disk seek times and the need for indices the relational model was born
>> along with the database management systems to police it.
>> But things are moving on - we've got lots of disk and tons of RAM. Who
>> needs tight 70 pants when you can hang loose? ;-)
> A relational database is a collection of facts, and normalising them is a
> way to ensure there are no contradictions. If you think DRY is just a
> memory-saving optimisation, you've rather missed the point.

Hmmm ... my point was that some of the itches the relational model sought 
to scratch (optimising disk retrieval and storage etc) are no longer as 
itchy. Which presents an opportunity ...

The relational model is great for facts. But my other point was there is 
an interaction layer on top of the facts. If we all thought like Mr Spock 
a universe of facts would be fun.

I don't know about you, but I spend most of my time shoe-horning the real 
world into relational facts. Sadly the world is constantly changing and 
there is always a tension between the real world and the relational model. 
Either the model changes, the real world plays along, or you get a total 
disconnect (we need a new system!!!).

But now we've got more flexibility (more RAM, disk etc) and we can overlay 
the relational model with something more exotic ... a new type of ORM 
layer ... and I was suggesting a place to look is in modelling how people 
actually/truly/really use the information - not the information itself:

 	|  Interaction Layer |
 	|----- this bit -----|

 	\|/ -----> Object -----> RDBMS
 	/ \


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