SQL No, Set Theory Yes

Slashdot just posted a story about a “nosql” conference, Enthusiasts Convene To Say No To SQL, Hash Out New DB Breed.

The “nosql” folks seem to agree with me that SQL is fundamentally wrong.

However, a quick look at some of the presentations to be found at NOSQL debrief suggests they are missing a key point.

The presentations lament the problems with SQL in today’s world, and make mention of some of the latest buzzwords such as “JSON,” “REST” and “Log-structured Merge Trees.”

I suggest the answer is not be found in a mashup of hot new technologies but by going back to the basics.

That would be mathematics.

If set-theory is good enough for mathematicians shouldn’t it be good enough to describe what you want to retrieve from a database?

Get the basics right, and all the rest will follow. This is a much better approach than working backward from technology to determine how the user should construct a query.

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One Comment

  1. jz
    Posted July 3, 2009 at 10:08 | Permalink | Reply

    You’re absolutely right, and the problem with the no-sql movement is that these proposals are in fact moving in the exact opposite direction. It’s not just a suggestion, they’re actively pursuing already failed ideas.

    They’re making things worse, and will lead many astray because most programmer practitioners do not consider math and logic important tools in their tool-belt, but instead libraries, frameworks, and what-they-and-others-already-know.

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