Database Pointers in Navigational and Object–Oriented Database Management Systems: A Comparison

Database Pointers in Navigational and Object–Oriented Database Management Systems: A Comparison

Mark Gillenson (University of Memphis, USA), Raymond D. Frost (Central Connecticut State University, USA) and Michael G. Kilpatrick (University of Miami, USA)
Copyright: © 1995 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/jdm.1995100102
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Abstract

As information systems and, more specifically, database management systems, attempt to model particular application environments, they must be able to account for and keep track of how the entities in the environments relate to each other. In the first or navigational generation of DBMS, relationships were maintained by pointer chains that connected the records representing the related entities. In the second or relational generation of DBMS, the tuples, representing related entities were not connected by pointers, but could be “joined” at query time based on common values of particular fields. In the third or object–oriented generation of DBMS, there are two major structural approaches. One is a pointer–based approach while the other, is designed to add advanced, object–oriented features to the relational model. Recently, perhaps inevitably, interest in the object–oriented pointer–based approach has led to questions of whether it is, in some sense, a return to navigational DBMS. While object–oriented database clearly has major features that go far beyond the capabilities of first generation DBMSs, this article will show that a comparative analysis of pointer usage in navigational DBMS and in object– oriented DBMS can yield interesting results, plus a better understanding of the object–oriented DBMS paradigm.

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