database management systems, cont. (78)

Wed, 15 Feb 89 21:01:15 EST

Humanist Mailing List, Vol. 2, No. 610. Wednesday, 15 Feb 1989.

(1) Date: Wed, 15 Feb 89 09:25 EST (44 lines)
Subject: Another DBMS user of Oracle

(2) Date: Wed, 15 Feb 89 12:58:07 EST (14 lines)
From: elli@harvunxw.BITNET (Elli Mylonas)
Subject: DBMS

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Wed, 15 Feb 89 09:25 EST
Subject: Another DBMS user of Oracle

We also play around with Oracle on a PC, and plan to acquire it for the
Macintosh. I'm particularly interested in the Hypercard interface ($199)
which the company tells me will let Hypercard on a Mac retrieve data from
any other Oracle or SQL database (except, of course, Rdb on the VAx, the
one I need...) on a mainframe. All that will change when Apple's
connectivity tool to the VAX (CL/1) becomes available later this year.

Since some other Humanist had a question about it, here's a fast core
dump on Oracle. Company (ORCL on NASDAQ) is about 12 years old, was formed
by group of IBM's staff who thought IBM was going too slowly with development
of relational databases (System R at that point, then DB2), and was the first
commercial release of SQL. Company has grown apx 100% each year since then,
(as has its stock price) and is now 3rd largest database Co. in US. (Some say
too much, as they expand from 3000 to 5000 staff this year.) In any case,
they appear solid and here for the long run.

Variants of the product run on almost every machine and operating system,
making it a prime choice for integration of multi-vendor environments,
including NATO, the entire Saudi Arabian air-defense system, etc.

I taught three lectures on this in a DMBS course, and had the MBA's use
it on a PC... The product works, but it seems like a product for serious
DP people to build systems in, not for amateurs, unless the Hypercard link
does all the work for you. Benchmarks show it loads data just about the
most slowly of all PC products, which is because it does a great deal of
clever placement on the disk -- and, as a result, it is just about the
fastest product out for search and retrieval. I believe versions exist in
at least 20 other languages. There are extended form-building, application-
building tools, etc, but the manual set is about 2500 pages and intimidating.
Still, if you need to build a system that will survive the next four
operating system changes, a switch from IBM to VAX to BULL without needing
to rewrite your code, this may be worth looking at.

At last check, there were no such things as open-ended free-text fields,
which can make this a poor choice for a text-oriented database. New versions
come out almost monthly, though, so you should ask. (1-800-ORACLE1, which
is on Pacific time (Eastern - 3, UTC - 8 right now.)

Wade Schuette, Johnson Graduate School of Mangement, Cornell University.

(2) --------------------------------------------------------------17----
Date: Wed, 15 Feb 89 12:58:07 EST
From: elli@harvunxw.BITNET (Elli Mylonas)
Subject: DBMS

Gregory Crane started to use Oracle on the Mac to hold the endings
and stems of Greek words for his morphological parser of Greek. It
seemed attractive because it allows SQL queries from HyperCard.
Unfortunately, we had to send it back because it does not permit
variable length text fields. He is now using Reflex. Otherwise,
we use Filemaker II on the Mac for standard office work and for
catalogues of images. HyperCard can sort of fit into the DBMS
category, but I would hesitate to call it a real database. I started
to use it for office information and gave up. We use it here
more as a developent environment.