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Method to implement object oriented inheritance in relational databases

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000239146D
Publication Date: 2014-Oct-16
Document File: 5 page(s) / 108K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

TDisclosed is a method to achieve inheritance for both simple parent-child “is-a” related tables and more complex self-referencing table schemas by integrating functionality inherent in Relational Database Management Systems (RDBMSs).

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Method to implement object oriented inheritance in relational databases

Implement object oriented inheritance in a relational database

Real world and business objects are often categorized into hierarchies . Within these hierarchies, the higher-level categories contain the common characteristics and the lower level categories inherit the characteristics from categories higher up the topology . "Inheritance" is a feature found in Object Oriented (OO) programming and Object Oriented programming languages that support this type of categorization of objects into hierarchies. It is also one of the reasons for the rapid adoption of OO programming as the de-facto standard for developing computer systems. Inheritance enables an OO class to inherit attributes and methods from all associated superclasses , whether direct or indirect, within the object hierarchy's topology. A subclass, in turn, can override any attribute or method that it inherits.

When modeling objects within an object oriented computer system , inheritance allows the designer to abstract the common attributes of a set of similar objects into a superclass and allows the definition of more specific objects as subclasses and inherit and, optionally, override the associated values. Almost everything modeled within a system can be described with a given taxonomy or hierarchical classification from general to specific. It is for this reason that object oriented program languages and systems are so popular and have taken over the market .

However, Relational Database Management Systems (RDBMSs), which are the de-facto standard for persisting data used by computer systems , do not support inheritance. Relational databases are based on relational set theory , predicate calculus, and other sound mathematic principles that enable databases to quickly deliver a result set response to arbitrarily complex queries. The functional richness, dynamic nature, and security of RDBMS, is why Object Oriented Database Management Systems (OODBMSs) have done little related to market share. People have just lived with the limitations of RDBMS to gain the other advantages . The requirement to carry down given attributes from parent entities to the dependent children, similar to how inheritance works in OO systems, remains, even if the data is persisted within a relational database designs.

There has been significant work in mapping objects to relational databases but no solution of rebuilding the object graphs outside of an object oriented system . There have been proposals to integrate inheritance into RDBMSs , but no implementations.

The novel contribution is a method to achieve inheritance for both simple parent -child "is-a" related tables and more complex self-referencing table schemas by integrating functionality inherent in RDBMSs

Starting with the simple "is-a" relationship. Inheritance provides a means of classifying objects taking advantage of the commonality of objects . Inheritance estab...