Only a few database vendors will be able to evolve their current products into full object-relational systems, claimed a leading authority at this week?s Object/Relational Summit Conference in San Francisco. David Maier, professor of computer science at Oregon and one of the founders of object databases, named O2 Technology as the foremost player in this field, followed by Unidata, whose Redback Internet toolkit went into beta release on the same day.
Key to databases that truly combine relational and object capabilities is the object-to-relational mapping technique, which allows SQL to view data stored as objects as if it were rows and columns. It is in this area that Maier believes the two companies stand out. These database are targeted at people who build object oriented and Web-based applications using tools such as Java, but also need a scalable commercial database.
Unidata, which demonstrated its object relational database at the conference, will ship the product in volume in mid-1997, focusing on the transaction processing market. Redback will ship by the end of the year.
Redback is a toolkit for building dynamic, transaction-based Web applications for the Internet and Intranets. It is designed for applications that involve transactions passing between companies or departments in a client/server environment - such as catalogues, customer order placement and human resources management, as well as ad hoc Web querying.
Users of Redback applications just need a standard browser and client-side updates to programs are automatically exported to the user?s desktops, eliminating distributed application administration.
The toolkit currently allows the Web applications to access data in Unidata?s own Unidata and Universe products, but support for major relational and object-relational databases will follow next year.
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