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Do people normalise database designs in phones?

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Blog I was interested to read Ian Murphy's story about SQL Anywhere. Despite the availability of embedded databases, it seems to me that the database (in the DBMS sense) hasn't really come to mobile devices like phones yet. This is largely because of resource constraints - they're back in the 1970s mindset before enterprise databases really took off, using clever file systems for data storage (remember VSAM?).

SQL Anywhere 10 might just be the catalyst for changing this, as it has pretty rich developer and platform support, including performance analysis and application profiling tools, .NET 2.0 support, good integration with Microsoft Visual Studio 2005, and new support for Symbian devices.

On the last one Symbian Limited VP marketing Simon Garth says: "With over 70m Symbian smartphones shipped, SQL Anywhere 10 is ideally positioned to take advantage of the large number of businesses that use Symbian OS devices.

"The combination of SQL Anywhere and Symbian OS provides a solid platform for organisations to extend business applications to popular smartphones, giving employees access to critical business data wherever they are."

However, there are lots of other embedded databases that could be fitted into mobile phones and I'm reminded that my Nokia 9500 doesn't have a properly normalised contacts database application: I have to type in IBM's address for every IBM contact I have; and when my last IBM contact moves on and I delete or update his/her contact card, I lose IBM's address(s). This really isn't good design.

Now, IBM has an embedded version of DB2, among others, but this isn't a technology issue that could be addressed with a better database, it's a database design/requirements issue, that needs a bit of relationally-aware data analysis.

So often, problems with technology really aren't technology problems. ®

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