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Caché Technology Guide

Table of Contents

The Computing World Has Entered The “Post-Relational” Era

Advanced Database Technology For Breakthrough ApplicationsThirty years ago, relational databases were hailed as a great innovation. Instead of monolithic legacy databases, each with its unique data schema, data would be stored in a tabular format, and be accessible to anyone who knew SQL. Relational databases were highly successful, and SQL became a common standard for database access. However, as is common with older technologies, relational databases have limitations that reduce their applicability to today’s world – primarily in the realms of performance/scalability, ease of use, and fit with today’s development technologies.

The usage and complexity of computer applications are exploding, and today’s systems increasingly have processing requirements that outstrip the capabilities of relational technology. Many key applications that demanded high performance and scalability never made the transition to relational databases, and today even simple applications are beginning to approach the limits of traditional relational technology.

“Impedance mismatch” between relational databases and today’s development technologies has become a serious problem – making development more complex and the chances of failure greater. While the simplicity of tabular structures supports an elegant query language (SQL), it is difficult to decompose real-world data structures into such simplistic rows and columns. The result is a huge number of tables whose relationships are hard to remember and hard to use – rows and columns are simple, but the pervasive need to program left outerjoins, stored procedures, and triggers is not.

Modern applications are usually written using object technology, which enables a faster and more intuitive way of describing and using information. Development is faster, and reliability increases. Unfortunately, objects are not natively compatible with relational databases. The advantages of object technology get blunted when the resulting database objects have to be forced into the two dimensional relational model.

Today’s transaction processing applications have requirements that outstrip the capabilities of relational technology – they must span large networks, service thousands of clients, but still provide superb performance, Web compatibility, and simple operations at low cost. And they must be developed quickly!

Advanced Database Technology For Breakthrough Applications

Caché is a new generation of ultra-high-performance database technology. It combines an object database, high-performance SQL, and powerful multidimensional data access – all of which can simultaneously access the same data. Data is only described once in a single integrated data dictionary and is instantly available using all access methods. Caché provides levels of performance, scalability, rapid programming, and ease of use unattainable by relational technology.

But Caché is much more than a pure database technology. Caché includes an Application Server with advanced object programming capabilities, the ability to easily integrate with a wide variety of technologies, and an extremely high-performance runtime environment with unique data caching technology.

Caché comes with several built-in scripting languages: Caché ObjectScript, a powerful yet easy-to-learn object-oriented programming language; Caché Basic, a superset of the widespread Basic programming language, including extensions for powerful data access and object technology; and Caché MVBasic, a variant of Basic used by MultiValue applications (sometimes referred to as Pick applications). Other languages, such as Java, C#, and C++, are supported through direct call-in and other interfaces, including ODBC, JDBC, .NET, and a Caché-provided object interface that allows accessing the Caché database and other Caché facilities as properties and methods.

Caché also goes beyond traditional databases by incorporating a rich environment for developing sophisticated browser-based (Web) applications. InterSystems Zen technology allows the rapid development and execution of dynamically generated Web pages. Thousands of simultaneous Web users can access database applications, even on low-cost hardware.

For non-browser based applications, the user interface is typically programmed in one of the popular client-user interface technologies, such as Java, .NET, C#, or C++. Best results (fastest programming, greatest performance, and lowest maintenance) are usually obtained by performing all of the rest of the development within Caché. However, Caché also provides extremely high levels of interoperability with other technologies and supports all of the most commonly used development tools, so a wide range of development methodologies are available.

The Caché Technology Guide Has Been Divided Into Four Main Sections: