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What do do about Object-Relational label, was Help me improve the 9.2 release announcement!

From: Chris Travers <chris(dot)travers(at)gmail(dot)com>
To: Rob Napier <rob(at)doitonce(dot)net(dot)au>
Cc: "Joshua D(dot) Drake" <jd(at)commandprompt(dot)com>, Josh Berkus <josh(at)agliodbs(dot)com>, pgsql-advocacy(at)postgresql(dot)org
Subject: What do do about Object-Relational label, was Help me improve the 9.2 release announcement!
Date: 2012-08-08 03:15:26
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Lists: pgsql-advocacy
A few points here.

On Tue, Aug 7, 2012 at 2:45 PM, Rob Napier <rob(at)doitonce(dot)net(dot)au> wrote:

> Joshua
> Don't shoot the messenger. I'm just quoting Josh. And, BTW, from my
> experience as a dbIgnoramus, I have to agree with his description.
> To all you dbExperts on this list, I'd like to mention my own recent
> experience with PostgreSQL that demonstrates the barrier to entry for
> people
> trying to swing across from MySQL or other databases.
> I decided recently that I would make time to really try to understand the
> features and benefits of PostgreSQL. Thanks to the great Enterprise DB
> installer package, I was able to install the software without any problems.
> One barrier down!
> And I found the wiki documentation really easy to follow, up to the point
> when it starts to jump into object-relational blah blah blah.
> Yes, I understand OOP and relational databases but when applied together,
> the language is almost meaningless and more importantly: its significance
> to
> me in developing a database. So I went to Wikipedia and elsewhere for an
> explanation. That was worse. Much worse.

I wonder if it is time to re-examine the term object-relational and how we
explain it.  As I understand it the original idea was a relational database
which could be applied to complex data.  I agree that the term doesn't
really have a lot to do with object oriented programming.  I think Rob has
a point that the term itself is a barrier to entry, not for those who know
nothing like I was when I started, but for those who expect the term to
have something to do with OOP, which it doesn't.  Or maybe it is worth
investing in a better description.  I would be happy to contribute.  That
might be 9.3 territory though.

I think the problem here is that object-relational is an established term
in the database world which programmers have a hard time grasping because
it conflicts with their own terminology.

> I've been building successful database applications for 25 years without a
> problem. So I though the transition to PostgreSQL would not be too
> difficult. Well, it is - if you haven't graduated from college in the last
> 10 years or invested 1000s of hours in private study.
> Unless you folk want to continue being an object-relatively exclusive club,
> you need to make information more accessible. I can cite numerous examples
> in other industries where the second-or-third-best product dominates the
> market by keeping the message simple and the product accessible.

 Certainly we need a better explanation about what is meant.

> So here is my offer: I am prepared to work (on Skype) with one or more
> individuals who can explain the significance of Josh's no doubt,
> illuminating announcement, and I'll write a media release for the rest of
> us
> mortals.
> And I'm willing to do this on any PostgreSQL text, as long as there is
> someone ready to give me context to work with.

I would be interested in trying to get an accessible explanation as to what
is meant by Object-Relational into the documentation.  I will try to send
you something.

> If there is a really well-written book that would break down the barriers
> for me, what is its title? My PostgreSQL textbook would stop a tank!
> Getting the right balance seems to be a problem. But it's a problem that
> needs to be solved if mere mortals such as myself are ever going to make
> the
> transition.
> Apologies for the length of this post. Thank you for your time.
> I don't think it is a question of mere mortals.  It is easier to teach a
computer novice to use Linux on the desktop than it is to teach a Windows
power user.  Consequently the real problem it seems to me is a mismatch
between terms which results in communication difficulties.  It seems to me
the best thing to do is to focus on how we explain these terms.

Let's see what we can do about that.

Best Wishes,
Chris Travers


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Next:From: Josh BerkusDate: 2012-08-08 03:23:51
Subject: Re: Help me improve the 9.2 release announcement!
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Subject: Re: Help me improve the 9.2 release announcement!

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