Feeds

Access isn’t a relational database

We're all related somehow

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Even if you think that this is a rather extreme view, there are more than enough other arguments to keep the regulars at the “Table and Join” pub debating long after last records have been called. So, let’s see how the discussion might go between two protagonists.

Of course, whilst it’s fine for trivial work, let’s face it; Access isn’t really a relational database.

You are just so right. A database is a collection of data, so Access isn’t a relational database, neither is Oracle, SQL Server etc.

OK, OK. What I meant was Access is not a relational engine.

Correct again. Access isn’t an engine. It makes calls to the Jet database engine which is supplied along with Access. Incidentally, in Access 2007 the Jet engine is finally being phased out (after 15 years of valiant service) and is being replaced by the new Ace engine.

Let’s not get pedantic here. Tell you what, from now on we’ll use the term ‘Access’ to include the Jet/Ace engine. It doesn’t matter how you wriggle and squirm, Access still isn’t relational.

Be more specific; in what way is it not relational?

What I mean is that it is nowhere near as relational as, say, Oracle.

But an engine can’t be partially relational. That’s like being slightly null. This relational business is binary: you either are, or you aren’t. Take a look at Codd’s first rule.

That’s silly. In common usage we know what the word ‘relational’ means. It refers to a database engine that stores data in tables. The tables have columns and rows, primary and foreign keys. Relational databases engines are the ones that allow joins between tables, use referential integrity to provide high data integrity, use SQL for querying and all of that jazz. That’s the relational database engine in the real world, not some airy-fairy definition by some guy 30 years ago.

Fair enough, you’ve convinced me. I’ve totally changed my mind. We should use the real world definition. In which case Access clearly is a relational database engine because it does all that you have mentioned and more.

No, that wasn’t the point. There are bits of the relational model that Access doesn’t support, like transactions.

Yes it does; they have been supported since Jet 4.0.

Ah, but it doesn’t support transaction logs!

True, but the whole question about transactions is immaterial to the current discussion because transactions aren’t really part of the relational model.

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
Whoah! How many Google Play apps want to read your texts?
Google's app permissions far too lax – security firm survey
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
Do YOU work at Microsoft? Um. Are you SURE about that?
Nokia and marketing types first to get the bullet, says report
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Big Blue Apple: IBM to sell iPads, iPhones to enterprises
iOS/2 gear loaded with apps for big biz ... uh oh BlackBerry
OpenWRT gets native IPv6 slurping in major refresh
Also faster init and a new packages system
Microsoft's anti-bug breakthrough: Wire devs to BRAIN SCANNERS
Clippy: It looks your hands are shaking, are you sure you want to commit this code?
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.