A revolutionary database system...

I think it's really important to point out how a RAM-centric data engine is far more powerful and appropriate than all of the disk-centric database programs on the market.

One of the most powerful parts of WebDNA is its database. Unlike virtually every other major database application on the market, WebDNA's database handles data in plain text format, loaded from tab-delimited files directly in RAM. Almost all other database systems are based on a disk-centric model. ļ¾ Data changes are directly written to disk with each request. WebDNA writes individual changes to the RAM image of the data and a separate process maintains a current copy of the RAM data on the disk.

RAM stands for Random Access Memory. So it is a perfect approach to allow all the changes a large number of random web visitors might make to be immediately collected into RAM. Then, a separate process writes all of the RAM data as a single block, to disk. On a hard drive, large block writes are much more efficient than waiting for a physical drive head to jump all around the disk writing individual changes. WebDNA applies computer RAM and hard drive resources much more effectively than any other solution on the market.

It also eliminates the need to maintain multiple syntaxes. One of the biggest challenges facing web application developers is managing syntax. Even the most popular application environments rely on separate, external database programs. These database programs have their own languages for accessing and changing your data. That means that you have to put the database instructions inside the web application syntax. And if you make a mistake, finding it can be difficult, frustrating and time consuming.

WebDNA uses the same syntax for both instructions and data. It is truly revolutionary due to its simplicity. It allows developers to think from directly within their data.

WebDNA deals only with individual, tabbed text files (additional types like comma separated value are also supported). It does not require programmers to specify table relationships, it does not enforce key field requirements, and it does not embed tables or encrypt the data if not specifically requested. Any file can be opened into a text editor or spreadsheet and its contents immediately reviewed.

There has been great debate over the years that the database should require specification of table relationships, require keyfields, and that individual tables that make up a project all be gathered into a single, larger database file. We at WebDNA respectfully disagree. We think that the additional hassle of these requirements makes building simple tools for internet users unnecessarily difficult.

Although hairy-sounding things like explicitly specifying table relationships and key-fields and the like does allow the database program to manage referential integrity and avoid orphaned data records and important stuff like that, those duties are functions and we don't think those functions belong outside of the pages of code that make up your site. First, it's not that hard to build data integrity right along with every other part of your site, but more importantly, by managing all the functions in one place it is much easier to build, test, and deploy your application. One syntax, one batch of code, and one scripting language.

Think of it as reorganizing things so that there is only one chef in the kitchen.

Oh, and for those who have difficulty letting go, WebDNA can completely interface with any SQL database. That means that you can try learning the scripting first, and then switch to the much more simple approach we use for handling data in the future. Patrick McCormick

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