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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Linq to Sql as an opportunity to sql users

Instead of a dead end, Linq presents opportunities for sql experts.

My comment orginally appeared in the www.sqlblog.com post:

'Continuing Industry Consolidation and Other Trends.' 1/16/08
by Kevin Kline
http://tinyurl.com/5opxlz

I think the Sun acquisition of MySql was a checkmate move. It was Oracle
that attempted to slow down MySql with their acquisition of the InnoDB
transaction engine. Now they have been paid back in spades. Now it's Sun
vs. MS in a new competition for the minds and hearts of developers. The
broad view is LINQ/net and Sql Server vs. java and MySql. This is not
about databases per se but a new war based on the object/entity model
inspired by LINQ. I don't see IBM and Oracle in this war. They will have
to be content to battle amongst themselves in the old database wars.
(I'll come back to LINQ:)

As for 'Checking out the Competition' of course I too applaud Linchi.
But honestly we're first 'now' recognizing the advantages of eyes wide
open?:) This attitude should be a given for a professional. Perhaps
better late than never, perhaps an airing of cheerleading vs.reality
checking:) For most ansi features that MS has pre-annouced all one has
to do to study them is read about them in Oracle or DB2 documentation
(ie. OVER). And as Linchi pointed out it often goes the opposite
direction for other types of features. This attitude contributes to the
great divides that are common in the industry. 

And now we come to the 'dead-end routes' like LINQ. I take the opposite
view you do. There's a compelling case to be made (I've commented on
this matter on this site) that if there is a deadweight MS sees sql as
it. LINQ is not just a piece of new technology, it's not just a local
variable, it's a global one. LINQ is both an affirmation of the runtime
environment for 'all' application development using an object model and
a rejection of the sql interface. MS can live with the physical file
structure (the idea of relational data, rows and columns) but they don't
want to live with the sql interface for application development. MS
explains this global move in terms of solving the historic impedance
mismatch between two completely different environments. And they have
picked their winner and at the same time the loser. The rows and columns
abstraction now ends at physical storage. The object abstraction and
LINQ will take up everything else. Sql server is now something quite
different than it used to be. Almost all developmental changes in server
will be based on servicing objects and quite probably at the expense of
features associated with a furtherance of the relational model. Look at
all the work on partitioned views in S2008. This lies at the heart of
how LINQ will translate entity updates. LINQ is still in its enfancy. I
would expect it to appear to many just like sql did when it was intially
introduced in the early eighties. It will take time to get the matured
version. What is truely ironic is I see no real argument in the sql
community that LINQ represents a great opportunity for sql developers.
MS is inventing a declarative language in the spirit of sql. Don't
people see an opportunity to jump in and at least influence the design
of the language? Or get involved in the LINQ translation/optimizations
to sql. Over time as MS integrates LINQ deeper into server (returning
entities) I can assure you the current translations will change:) Sql
was most certainly not an implementation of the relational model. So sql
folks shouldn't get hung up over this. The relational model would
require the same strong typed runtime as net but MS is certainly not
going there. But they are going to a place that sql skills can be used.
And now Sun is going to go along with them. It's actually a small world
if your eyes are open:)

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