What's Wrong With ORM

Matt S Trout dbix-class at trout.me.uk
Sat Mar 25 12:37:42 GMT 2006

Nigel Hamilton wrote:
>> 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:

I'm fairly sure what you actually want here is an RDF store, perhaps one with 
OWL integration into $language_of_choice


is a mine of ideas on the subject, and there are already some rather cool perl 
modules for straight RDF usage in perl, notable RDF-Helper (which I believe is 
currently only in sf.net CVS rather than on CPAN but very promising indeed).

There's also been some interest in making RDF an alternative store for 
DBIx::Class, but whether that'll turn out to be a good idea or not I can't 
really say at this stage :)

      Matt S Trout       Offering custom development, consultancy and support
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