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Database Library - Summary of Benefits

BFC's Database Library speeds the development of commercial database applications, small or large, by presenting a uniform, DBMS-independent interface that operates through both Microsoft's ODBC (Open Database Connectivity) and high-efficiency native direct connections. It shields developers from much of the complexity of scaling up applications to efficiently and reliably handle large, multi-user databases - whether on a local corporate network or across the Internet. This single database interface can be used without change for both interactive and batch (distributed computing) applications.

If an application is not data-intensive, Base One's low-level transaction processing support still can be very useful. For example, it simplifies recovery of distributed applications and permits easy creation of sync points for fast restart. Also it can be used to guarantee the state of temporary data for communication between distributed tasks.

The Database Library frees programmers from concerns about the details of ODBC, low-level database APIs, and the limitations of ADO or ADO.Net, while improving performance. Furthermore, the simple interface makes it easy to build applications that are portable between widely varying database types (Microsoft SQL Server and Access, Oracle, IBM DB2, Sybase, SQL Anywhere, and MySQL). Thus it provides a useful, location-independent middleware layer between the application and the database.

Because of this design, an application can start out as a local client/server program, and later be run from anywhere in the world, efficiently accessing a database via the Internet, without costly reimplementation. To communicate across the Internet or a corporate intranet, Base One's Internet Server (BIS), sitting next to the remote database, automatically handles messages containing blocks of database and transaction processing requests and results, with no need for additional programming.

The security features of the Database Library extend an organization's existing database and network authentication and authorization mechanisms. This makes Base One's database-centric architecture especially well suited to building secure enterprise applications. Administrators can assign security privileges and set security rules, and the Security and Administration Components make it practical to integrate application-specific behavior, such as filtering data depending on who is looking at it. Base One makes it easy to build systems that give managers a high degree of control over the privileges of each particular user: what items can be selected, which buttons can be pushed, and whether a screen or web page can be seen. This is in addition to the normal database administrator authority to decide what record types (tables) a user can modify or query.

The Database Library has its own Data Dictionary, which provides a complete description of record layouts and indexes of the database, for validation and ensuring efficient data access. This facility also supports automated database creation, including building of tables, indexes, and referential constraints, and granting access rights to individual users and groups.

Comprehensive error handling facilities are built into the Database Library to trap and display exceptions, perform required clean ups after errors, and make sure things are always left in an acceptable state. These basic mechanisms not only help programmers during development, but also are efficient and complete enough to be used in production, for notification of hardware and operational errors. By using the same failure and recovery paths in development and in production, programmers exercise the production error handling logic as a natural consequence of their development work, resulting in more dependable applications.

Anyone familiar with standard ANSI 92 SQL will find learning and using Base One's Database Library straightforward, and even non-programmers can easily perform database operations through the Base One Command Processor.

Other highlights of BFC's Database Library include:

  • Browses that never cause delay, no matter how large the database. Users can page (scroll) forwards and backwards and jump to the beginning or end of large record collections rapidly. The Database Library's "Scroll Cache" component automatically forces index searches and prevents inefficient sorts. Programmers specify queries in the simplest way, and these are automatically adjusted to improve performance, sometimes dramatically. Scroll Cache automatically adds (into the SQL) performance hints from the Database Index Dictionary to encourage usage of the appropriate index and quick freeing of locks.

  • A Command Processor capable of running complex text-based scripts that include SQL and DOS commands, plus special commands designed for loading and unloading large databases, using the same basic database syntax as the programming environments.

  • Transaction processing integrity, so that multi-step business transactions either appear together or not at all. The Database Library makes it easy to identify complete business transactions and properly block them together.

  • Protection from one user destroying another user's work, because they are both trying to change the same record. The Database Library uses optimistic concurrency control to isolate a user's actions on a database. This assures that one user cannot lock everyone else out by walking away from the computer before clicking OK (to continue) on a dialog box.

  • The ability to add large batches of new records and changes without having to shut down normal operations.

  • Freedom to process urgent transactions as needed, without being held up by long-running batch jobs. The Database Library avoids holding on to locks, anticipating database access and modification by many concurrent users.

  • Attached Objects allowing records to include (logically) multiple compressed BLOBS (Binary Large Objects), such as images, text, sounds, documents, spreadsheets, or anything else the business requires (programmer-defined data types).

  • The ability to add new information, get it back, and change it without spending inordinate amounts of programming time rewriting basic functionality.

  • The ability to save information about a database query including the current record / current page being viewed, so that the same query can be reconstructed at any point from the saved information. This facility of saving a state for subsequent re-use is particularly applicable to "stateless", server-side web programming.

  • The Database Library's error handling mechanism lets programmers quickly find and correct errors, including failures that happen in production (after testing is done). When a programmer makes a mistake, such as misspelling the name of a record field in a database query, an immediate notification is issued clearly stating what the error is and where it occurred.

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