Date on Database: Writings 2000-2006 by C. J. Date

By C. J. Date

Date on Database: Writings 2000 2006 captures many of the most up to date considering from widely recognized and revered relational database pioneer C. J. Date. recognized for his tenacious safeguard of relational conception in its purest shape, Date tackles many themes which are vital to database pros, together with the adaptation among version and implementation, facts integrity, info redundancy, deviations in SQL from the relational version, and masses extra. Date in actual fact and patiently explains the place lots of todays items and practices get it wrong, and illustrates a number of the difficulty you may get into for those who do not rigorously imagine via your use of present database know-how. In nearly each box of exercise, the writings of the founders and early leaders have had a profound influence.

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But that’s a particular hobbyhorse of mine ... I think I’d better stop right here. fm Page 17 Thursday, October 12, 2006 8:08 AM CHAPTER 2 ■ AN INTERVIEW WITH CHRIS DATE On the dedication page you quote Leonardo da Vinci on theory without practice. Do you feel there is a lack of theory in most practice of database design? Do you feel this is a problem for the industry? There are several issues here. If by “database design” you really do mean design of databases as such, then (as I explain in the O’Reilly book) there really isn’t very much theory available anyway—though it’s true that what little theory does exist is ignored far too often (especially in data warehouses, where some truly dreadful designs are not only found in practice but are actually recommended by certain pundits).

To give some idea of the scope and extent of Ted’s accomplishments, I’d like to highlight in this section what seem to me the most significant of his database contributions. Of course, the biggest of all was, as already mentioned, to make database management into a science (and thereby to introduce a welcome and sorely needed note of clarity and rigor into the field): The relational model provides a theoretical framework within which a variety of important problems can be attacked in a scientific manner.

It doesn’t happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. Now let’s get back to databases. The point is, the relational model is indeed a theory in the scientific sense—it’s categorically not just a matter of mere opinion (though I strongly suspect that many of those who criticize the model are confusing, deliberately or otherwise, the two meanings of the term “theory”).

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