2It has been noted that there are difficulties in using existing relational technology for thesenew applications areas:
"Everyone agrees that traditional relational database systems do great onbusiness data processing, and lay an egg if you ask them to do anything else... If you want them to store documents or CAD-related information, they just don’t do very well."
Michael Stonebraker, cited in [Hazza90]
"You can do anything with an RDBMS that you can with an OODBMS, except you have to roll your own."
Mark Hanner, cited in [Hodge89][Codd92] has suggested that relational technology can form the
for these newapplication areas. This may be possible with extended relational (or non-first normal form)models, which provide better support for complex data by allowing column attributesthemselves to be vectors (arrays, lists, tables). However, it is difficult to see how thesemantics of multimedia data types (for example) can be adequately captured by therelational model, since it cannot support this type of complex data - largely a by-product of relational theory according to [Hazza90].Object Database Management Systems (ODBMSs), also variously referred to as Object-Oriented Databases (OODBs), Object-Oriented Database Management Systems (OODBMS)or Next-Generation Database Systems, try to address some of the shortcomings of existing(relational) database technology. Briefly, some of these shortcomings are now discussed.
1.1 Lack of Expressive Power
The only data structure (aggregate or object) in the relational model is the table. This reducesall data to flat two-dimensional form, with relationships between tables being dynamicallyre-imposed at run-time. The lack of a facility for establishing relationships between tables atdesign time is probably the main backwards step from the structured database [White89].[Khosh90a] have also noted that the
"semantic eloquence of complex object composition islost"
when real-world objects are mapped to tables, resulting in the so-called "semantic gap."
1.2 Simple Data Types
To support next-generation applications a richer set of data types is required (e.g. arrays,lists, multimedia data types).Some popular RDBMS vendors have enhanced their products to support new data types[Compu91b]. Examples include INGRES that allows the incorporation of user-definedAbstract Data Types (ADTs) into database tables. However, these enhancements are still notcomparable to the facilities provided by Extended Relational Database Systems such asPOSTGRES [Rowe90; Stone90; Stone91].
1.3 Loss of Data Protection
Most RDBMSs support simple data types (e.g. integer, char). Many programming languages,however, enable new enumerated types to be defined. When these enumerated types need tobe mapped to the database types, data protection is lost [Hughe91].