Feeds

Access isn’t a relational database

We're all related somehow

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Of course they are.

No, you just associate them with the model because most relational engines provide transactional control. I agree that transactions are an essential part of building databases for business applications, but they aren’t part of the relational model itself. They are an add-on to the model. You don’t have to believe me, Chris Date also thinks so: “[Transaction theory] doesn’t have much to do with the relational model as such” - Databases in Depth, P. 121, Chris Date, May 2005, O’Reilly – the book’s reviewed here.

OK, but there are other things that Access doesn’t have that are part of the relational model – like full support for all flavours of referential integrity.

Well, we can digress and argue about whether the different implementations of referential integrity are part of the relational model, but I accept the principle that Access doesn’t support the entire relational model. However, every mainstream database engine on the planet has bits and pieces of the relational model that it doesn’t support. For a start, they all use SQL which is not a particularly good match to the relational model. Chris Date again, from the interview quoted:

“So yes, I do think SQL is pretty bad. But you explicitly ask what its major flaws are. Well, here are a few:

  • “Duplicate rows;
  • “Nulls;
  • “Left-to-right column ordering;
  • “Unnamed columns and duplicate column names;
  • “Failure to support "=" properly;
  • “Pointers;
  • “High redundancy.”

So all mainstream database engines fail to support the model properly which means that Access is no different from the others, such as Oracle, that you happily classify as relational.

But what about…

And so on and so on and so on... The argument will still be raging at closing time because it’s a database argument and, by definition, no-one ever updates their views.

We are all entitled to an opinion about this myth (since it depends so much on your definition of "relational"), but at least we can try to pare the discussion down to some fundamental points.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
NSA SOURCE CODE LEAK: Information slurp tools to appear online
Now you can run your own intelligence agency
Microsoft: Your Linux Docker containers are now OURS to command
New tool lets admins wrangle Linux apps from Windows
Microsoft adds video offering to Office 365. Oh NOES, you'll need Adobe Flash
Lovely presentations... but not on your Flash-hating mobe
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
HTML5 vs native: Harry Coder and the mudblood mobile app princes
Developers just want their ideas to generate money
prev story

Whitepapers

Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Website security in corporate America
Find out how you rank among other IT managers testing your website's vulnerabilities.