Feeds

Access isn’t a relational database

We're all related somehow

Build a business case: developing custom apps

  1. If you are a hard-line relational theorist, you may feel that none of the mainstream database engines is strictly relational. In which case, Access is not relational.
  2. If you are consider the likes of Oracle, SQL Server, DB2 etc. to be relational then you are accepting a more ‘real world’ definition of relational and you now have to decide whether Access falls within that set.
  3. If you decide it doesn’t, then you have to be able to show that Access supports significantly less of the model.

One trap worth avoiding is the use of arguments such as “Access isn’t relational because:

  • “it doesn’t support transactions;
  • “it can’t handle enough data;
  • “it isn’t robust enough;
  • “it is too slow;
  • “when it crashes the data can become corrupt because it doesn’t log the transactions;
  • “it comes from Microsoft and those guys don’t know anything about robust systems;
  • “it can’t handle more than about five concurrent users without running like a dog.”

The problem here is that these characteristics have nothing whatsoever to do with the relational model. It is perfectly true that stability, speed, high concurrency and the ability to handle large data sets are all eminently desirable features of a relational database system. But to associate them with the underlying data model is to misunderstand, at a very fundamental level, what the relational model is about.

According to Date, “the relational model is concerned with three aspects of data: data structure, data integrity and data manipulation.” - An Introduction to Database Systems, Addison-Wesley. The model says nothing about performance, data volume, numbers of concurrent users etc.

Indeed, to use these arguments to support the view that Access is not relational is like saying "Penguins aren’t birds because they can’t fly.” Whilst it is true that many birds can fly, aerial navigation is not part of the formal spec. for Class Aves.

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Microsoft refuses to nip 'Windows 9' unzip lip slip
Look at the shiny Windows 8.1, why can't you people talk about 8.1, sobs an exec somewhere
Intel's Raspberry Pi rival Galileo can now run Windows
Behold the Internet of Things. Wintel Things
Linux Foundation says many Linux admins and engineers are certifiable
Floats exam program to help IT employers lock up talent
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
Eat up Martha! Microsoft slings handwriting recog into OneNote on Android
Freehand input on non-Windows kit for the first time
Linux kernel devs made to finger their dongles before contributing code
Two-factor auth enabled for Kernel.org repositories
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
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?