April 26, 2009

The SqueakDBX team has announced the first stable version of the OpenDBX Wrapper

The SqueakDBX team has announced the first stable version of the OpenDBX Wrapper, here is the announcement in the Squeak List: 
After a continuous work since January 08, we are very glad to announce our first stable version of SqueakDBX.
For those who don't know what this is about, the aim of this project is to build an OpenDBX (http://www.linuxnetworks.de/doc/index.php/OpenDBX/) wrapper which will allow users to perform relational database operations (DDL, DML and SQL) through a truly open source library. Through this feature, the squeak community will hopefully be able to interact with major database engines, such as Oracle and SQL Server, besides those which are open source, like PostgreSQL, MySQL or Sqlite. Moreover, by integrating this with GLORP (http://www.glorp.org/), will allow us to generate a complete and open source solution to relational data base access.

Why did we do squeakDBX?

There are several approaches to persistence in Squeak, some very interesting: OODB like Gemstone and magma, image, CouchDB or TokyoT/C, and so on. All of this options get sense if you can actually decide the way you will persist your objects.
However, this is not something that happens very frequently. FREQUENTLY, the client (the one who pays you for making the software) requires you to use a particular persistence strategy (RDBMS). Not only that, but also a database in particular (like Oracle, MS SQL, and so on). They have lots of reasons: they already have license for it, they have support and companies for it, they know SQL, they want to do selects, legacy systems, and so on. But Squeak only provides drivers for MySQL and PostgreSQL natively, so... what would you do in the rest of the cases? move to another language? OK, we don't. We want to program systems in Squeak.
If you know about SqueakDBX you can just see changelog here: http://wiki.squeak.org/squeak/6109; If you don't, you should continue reading ;)
SqueakDBX features:

  • Runs on Squeak and Pharo.
  • Own SqueakDBX plugin (experimental). Ability to easily change the external call strategy (FFI or our own plugin).
  • Support for: Oracle, PostgreSQL, MySQL, MS SQL Server, ODBC and SQLite3
  • Automated database connection ralease (although manual disconnection is recommended ;-)
  • Automated results retrieving in order to do another query, after doing a query and not iterating ALL results 
  • Error handling: Not only errors, but levels associated with an error in order to avoid FFI calls (if you get a fatal error, it has no sense to do another query and the resources must be free). See http://wiki.squeak.org/squeak/6076
  • Very completed documentation in wiki and getting started.
  • Code critics and SwaLint were run several times.
  • Good design (at least all the major refactors demonstrated that).
Full documentation, installation and getting started instructions can be found at wiki page: http://wiki.squeak.org/squeak/6052. We spent a lot of time in it. It has all the information you may need and is in continuos development.
Benchmarks: We have a lot of SqueakDBX benchmarks and also some for native squeak drivers (PostgreSQL and MySQL) and SqueakDBX seems to be faster than both of them. You can read more here: http://wiki.squeak.org/squeak/6063
Packages can be installed from Universe (3.10) or SqueakMap. Current version is 1.0. Sources can be download from SqueakSource http://www.squeaksource.com/SqueakDBX (it requires FFI installed).

OpenDBX version: 1.4.
Remember that you can compile OpenDBX by yourself or use precompiled binaries. For more information please read: http://wiki.squeak.org/squeak/6129.

GLORP integration: Actually, this may include two parts: The integration of GLORP with squeak is completely hardcoded with PostgreSQL native driver. Because of this, first we will do a refactor in GLORP in order to enable it to support different drivers. We will create a PostgreSQL driver with the things that GLORP already has. We invited Alan Night to have dinner with us when he came to Argentina. We told him our ideas and discuss for a while till we got a first design of this refactor. We have already started this part.
Create a SqueakDBX driver for GLORP just like the one we are planning to do for PostgreSQL.

The last squeak port of GLORP is very old and there is nobody to do it. A friend of us, Diogenes Moreira, has accepted this job, so, thanks to him, we hope to have latest GLORP releases in Squeak.
You can see our Glorp progress here: http://wiki.squeak.org/squeak/6132

Help is always wanted. We would really appreciate if you:

Give us opinions, comments, ideas, new features, complaints and so on.
Tell us if you find a bug. Tell us if you test SqueakDBX with other RDMBS or OS different from the ones we tested. Just to know if it works or not :)

If you try SqueakDBX and you write something somewhere like a blog, let us know. We have this link: http://wiki.squeak.org/squeak/6131 where we put useful links for all the people.
Special thanks to:

  • ESUG, for supporting us through Summer of Talk 08; 
  • To Norbert (author of openDBX) for his help and to all the people who tested it and help us.
SqueakDBX team

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