Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Fat Database (or Thick Database) Approach

I'm a big believer in the so-called "Fat Database" paradigm for data-centric business applications.

I think I first heard the term "Thick Database" in a presentation by Dr. Paul Dorsey at the ODTUG conference in 2007.
I prefer the slightly more hip term "Fat Database", and offer my own definition of the term:

"Building applications using the Fat Database approach means leveraging the full potential of the database engine and its features, rather than treating the database as a bit bucket. If a problem can be solved using the database, it should be solved using the database, rather than in a programming language outside the database."

In other words, the exact opposite of the current trend, which is to avoid any database feature except basic tables. The enterprise architecture astronauts would rather reinvent the wheel over and over again, using the latest silver bullet in the endless stream of "new and improved" languages and frameworks that appear (and disappear) every few years.
Benefits of the Fat Database approach include reduced cost and complexity, increased performance, and a degree of immunity against the need to constantly rewrite code in a rapidly changing technology landscape.

Here is a collection of links to presentations and papers related to the Fat Database approach:

Dr. Paul Dorsey, co-author of seven Oracle Press books on Designer, Database Design, Developer, and JDeveloper

Toon Koppelaars, co-author of Applied Mathematics for Database Professionals


I will return to this subject in future postings on this blog.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Oracle Database as Development Platform

There is really a lot of amazing stuff that you can do using just the Oracle database and PL/SQL these days. I've made this diagram to illustrate the Oracle database developer's toolbox (click image to enlarge):

Note that this is all native functionality in the database itself, it does not include anything from the Oracle Fusion (Java) technology stack (except JDeveloper, which is free and can be used for general database and web development, not just Java).