TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Jun 00 Online

Volume Number: 16 (2000)
Issue Number: 6
Column Tag: MacTech Online

Relational Databases for Mac OS X Server

by Jeff Clites <online@mactech.com>

Earlier this year we covered WebObjects, but we didn't go into detail about the database solutions available to use with it. This month we are going to cover relational databases which run under Mac OS X Server. I should mention up front, though, that it's perfectly possible, and quite common, to run your application server and database on different machines, under different platforms. There can be convenience and speed advantages to running everything on one machine, but as your website scales up to higher capacities, you're certain to reach a point where you need to run multiple copies of your application server, on multiple machines, and modern databases are designed with the expectation that they will be accessed simultaneously from multiple locations. Of course, backing a WebObjects application is only one use for a database, and you may have other reasons for wanting a solution that you can run locally.

Database Adaptors

I should also explain a little bit about the way that WebObjects interfaces with databases. They communicate through an EOAdaptor, which usually takes the form of a shared library. The adaptor and the rest of the Enterprise Objects Framework (EOF) take care of most of the details of this communication, so that the developer doesn't have to worry about differences between the databases or between the dialects of SQL that they support. (It's even possible to develop adaptors to interface to non-relational databases, and Apple supplies an example Flat File Adaptor which lets you access formatted text files as though they were database tables.) Apple supplies EOAdaptors for Oracle, Sybase, Informix, and ODBC, although not for all platforms on which WebObjects runs. There are third-party adaptors available for many others—all of the databases we'll cover below have adaptors available. Note that there is currently no ODBC EOAdaptor available for Mac OS X Server, because the ODBC libraries aren't available for the platform, and neither are drivers for any of the databases you may wish to access by ODBC. (ODBC, or Open Database Connectivity, is a technology invented by Microsoft, and attempts to allow you to access different databases via a common API, with support for different databases being supplied by ODBC drivers. Its goal is analogous to that of the EOF, although it is functionally quite different.) Third parties have announced that they plan to bring ODBC support to Mac OS X, but it hasn't arrived yet.

SQL-based Databases

You have three main choices if you do want an SQL-based database which runs on Mac OS X Server itself: FrontBase, OpenBase, and MySQL. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, and the best choice will depend on your situation.

OpenBase has had a long history on the OpenStep platform, and was written specifically to run there. It comes with graphical administration tools, and has a few features, such as the ability to notify applications when data changes and integration with REALbasic, which are not commonly found in other databases. Mac OS X Server ships with OpenBase Lite, a free version which allows you to work with the included sample databases, but this version lacks administration tools and isn't really appropriate for development work. There is also a fully functional, time-limited demonstration version which you can download from the OpenBase website. This gives you ample opportunity to try out OpenBase for yourself, but for actual development or deployment you need to obtain a commercial license. Also note that OpenBase is available for Windows NT and Solaris, in addition to Mac OS X Server, so it is a good match for heterogeneous environments in which multiple operating systems are used, or migration from one to another is likely.

FrontBase, produced by Frontline Software of Denmark, is a cross-platform database written in C. It runs on a variety of platforms, including Mac OS X Server, Windows NT, Solaris, and Linux. Like OpenBase, it includes graphical administration tools, allowing you to create and manage databases easily. (Of course, you can also do this using SQL directly.) One key attraction of FrontBase is its flexible licensing terms. There are a number of different levels, based on different degrees of support and different features, such as bulk import tools and the ability to lock tables in memory. The lowest level is free, and is fully functional but lacks security features. This basic version is more than adequate for development work, and can even be used for deployment if you keep it safely behind a firewall.

The third choice is the open source database MySQL. (It's open source, but there is a fee for some types of commercial usage.) MySQL is very popular in the Linux community, and Anjo Krank has created a set of patches which allows it to run under Mac OS X Server. Actually, recent versions of MySQL will compile and run without patching, although you need a pthreads compatibility library which he provides. (He has also developed an EOAdaptor for MySQL, and a Perl DBI driver for FrontBase.) MySQL's claim to fame, other than being open source, is that it is extremely fast. The reason for its speed is, in part, that it lacks certain key database features, such as transactionality and rollback. These are major capabilities to do without, and in fact technically disqualify it from being a relational database, but if you can live with its limitations then it can be an excellent choice for many applications. Due to its heritage, you'll have to survive without built-in graphical management tools, but in the database arena it is often convenient to manage your database directly via SQL, because it allows you to easily save and reuse scripts for common tasks.

Oracle

As I mentioned before, you can certainly run your database on another platform, even if you are developing for Mac OS X Server. One setup you may want to consider is running Oracle8i under Linux. (This would unfortunately mean running it on an Intel box—Oracle runs neither on Mac OS X Server, nor on LinuxPPC. Given that Larry Ellison sits on Apple's board of directors, there is some hope that this situation may improve in the future. A Darwin version could do amazing things for the platform.) Neither Oracle nor Linux is trivial to administer, but I've heard it argued pretty convincingly that you should use Oracle from the beginning, even if you thing it's more database than you need. The argument goes that if you are running a database-backed website, you will eventually need Oracle, and your life will be easier if you don't have to deal with migrating to, and learning to administer, a new database just when your business is taking off and you're exceeding your capacity. (It's also true that both Linux and Oracle experience looks good on a resume these days.) Oracle is by far the most widely used database on the planet, and it has an excellent reputation for performance and reliability, although it's almost impossible to get hard numbers to quantify this. Personal experience has led me to believe that commercial databases all perform similarly when it comes to raw retrieval speed, although Oracle's unique approach to concurrency control and locking should give it an advantage when many processes are writing to the database at the same time. (In a nutshell, readers and writers rarely interfere with one another.) Oracle also has a very well thought out approach to backup management, and if your database fails you can often recover all the way up to the very last transaction committed. While making your decision, you should be aware that Oracle is extremely expensive, and although its licensing scheme is difficult to decipher, it does appear to be free for development use. If you plan on running a business which will depend on your database, you should give Oracle serious consideration. For extremely high-capacity deployments you will probably want to run Oracle on Solaris, and migrating from Linux to Solaris will be much easier than migrating from a different database architecture. (Oracle has been very good about making its database operate almost identically on all supported platforms.)

Once you've committed to a database, check out the MacTech Online web pages at <www.mactech.com/online/>.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Thunderbird 52.3.0 - Email client from M...
As of July 2012, Thunderbird has transitioned to a new governance model, with new features being developed by the broader free software and open source community, and security fixes and improvements... Read more
coconutBattery 3.6.3 - Displays info abo...
With coconutBattery you're always aware of your current battery health. It shows you live information about your battery such as how often it was charged and how is the current maximum capacity in... Read more
Little Snitch 4.0.2 - Alerts you about o...
Little Snitch gives you control over your private outgoing data. Track background activity As soon as your computer connects to the Internet, applications often have permission to send any... Read more
VueScan 9.5.82 - Scanner software with a...
VueScan is a scanning program that works with most high-quality flatbed and film scanners to produce scans that have excellent color fidelity and color balance. VueScan is easy to use, and has... Read more
Postbox 5.0.17 - Powerful and flexible e...
Postbox is a new email application that helps you organize your work life and get stuff done. It has all the elegance and simplicity of Apple Mail, but with more power and flexibility to manage even... Read more
CleanMyMac 3.8.6 - $39.95
CleanMyMac makes space for the things you love. Sporting a range of ingenious new features, CleanMyMac lets you safely and intelligently scan and clean your entire system, delete large, unused files... Read more
Default Folder X 5.1.6b3 - Enhances Open...
Default Folder X attaches a toolbar to the right side of the Open and Save dialogs in any OS X-native application. The toolbar gives you fast access to various folders and commands. You just click on... Read more
Amazon Chime 4.6.5852 - Amazon-based com...
Amazon Chime is a communications service that transforms online meetings with a secure, easy-to-use application that you can trust. Amazon Chime works seamlessly across your devices so that you can... Read more
VOX 2.8.30 - Music player that supports...
VOX just sounds better! The beauty is in its simplicity, yet behind the minimal exterior lies a powerful music player with a ton of features and support for all audio formats you should ever need.... Read more
iFFmpeg 6.4.3 - Convert multimedia files...
iFFmpeg is a comprehensive media tool to convert movie, audio and media files between formats. The FFmpeg command line instructions can be very hard to master/understand, so iFFmpeg does all the hard... Read more

War Wings beginner's guide - how to...
War Wings is the newest project from well-established game maker Miniclip. It's a World War II aerial dogfighting game with loads of different airplane models to unlock and battle. The game offers plenty of single player and multiplayer action. We... | Read more »
How to win every 2v2 battle in Clash Roy...
2v2 is coming back to Clash Royale in a big way. Although it's only been available for temporary periods of time, 2v2 has seen a hugely positive fan response, with players clamoring for more team-based gameplay. Soon we'll get yet another taste of... | Read more »
Roll to Win with Game of Dice’s new upda...
Joycity’s hit Game of Dice gets a big new update this week, introducing new maps, mechanics, and even costumes. The update sets players loose on an exciting new map, The Cursed Tower, that allows folks to use special Runes mid-match. If you feel... | Read more »
Bottom of the 9th (Games)
Bottom of the 9th 1.0.1 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0.1 (iTunes) Description: Play the most exciting moment of baseball in this fast-paced dice and card game! | Read more »
The best apps for viewing the solar ecli...
If you somehow missed the news, many parts of the United States will be witness to a total solar eclipse on August 21 for the first time in over 90 years. It'll be possible to see the eclipse in at least some capacity throughout the continental U... | Read more »
The 5 best mobile survival games
Games like ARK: Survival Evolved and Conan Exiles have taken the world of gaming by storm. The market is now flooded with hardcore survival games that send players off into the game's world with nothing but maybe the clothes on their back. Never... | Read more »
Portal Walk (Games)
Portal Walk 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Portal Walk is adventure and relaxing platform game about Eugene. Eugene stuck between worlds and trying to find way back home.... | Read more »
Technobabylon (Games)
Technobabylon 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: City of Newton, 2087. Genetic engineering is the norm, the addictive Trance has replaced almost any need for human interaction,... | Read more »
5 reasons why 2v2 is the best mode in Cl...
Supercell has been teasing fans with 2v2 windows that allow players to team up for limited periods of time. The Summer of 2v2 was just this past July, but players are already clamoring for more of that sweet, sweet team-based action. The fans have... | Read more »
The best deals on the App Store this wee...
It seems like the week's only just started, and yet here we are with a huge pile of discounted games to sort through. There are some real doozies on sale this week. We're talking some truly stellar titles. Let's take a look at four of the best... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Back To School With The Edge Desk All-in-one...
Back to school is just around the corner, and the ergonomically correct Edge Desk all-in-one portable kneeling desk is ideal for students living in dorms and small apartments, Edge Desk features:... Read more
Norton Core Secure Wi-Fi Router Now Available...
First introduced at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Norton Core, a secure, high-performance Wi-Fi router, fundamentally changed the concept of Wi-Fi routers by making security the primary... Read more
ViewSonic Adds New 27-inch 4K UHD Monitor to...
ViewSonic Corp. has introduced the VP2785-4K, a 27-inch 4K UHD (3840×2160) monitor that delivers precise and consistent color representation and performance to ensure incredible image quality. Built... Read more
Apple now offering Certified Refurbished 2017...
Apple is now offering Certified Refurbished 2017 27″ iMacs for up to $350 off original MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free. The following models are available: – 27″ 3.... Read more
13-inch 2.3GHz MacBook Pros on sale for $100...
Amazon has the new 2017 13″ 2.3GHz MacBook Pros on sale today for $100 off MSRP, each including free shipping: – 13″ 2.3GHz/128GB Space Gray MacBook Pro (MPXQ2LL/A): $1199.99 $100 off MSRP – 13″ 2.... Read more
Clearance 2016 13-inch MacBook Airs available...
B&H Photo has clearance 2016 13″ MacBook Airs available for up to $200 off original MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY & NJ sales tax only: – 13″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air (MMGF2LL... Read more
Clearance 21-inch and 27-inch iMacs available...
B&H Photo has clearance 21″ and 27″ Apple iMacs available for up to $500 off original MSRP, each including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only: – 27″ 3.3GHz iMac 5K: $1799 $500 off... Read more
New iOS 11 Productivity Features Welcome But...
The iOS community is in late summer holding mode awaiting the September arrival of the iPhone 8 and iOS 11. iOS 11 public betas have been available for months — number six was released this week —... Read more
Samsung Electronics Launches New Portable SSD...
Samsung Electronics America, Inc. has announced the launch of Samsung Portable SSD T5 – its newest portable solid state drive (PSSD) that raises the bar for the performance of external memory... Read more
TrendForce Reports YoY Gain of 3.6% for 2Q17...
Market research firm TrendForce reports that the global notebook shipments for this second quarter registered a sequential quarterly increase of 5.7% and a year-on-year increase of 3.6%, totaling 39.... Read more

Jobs Board

Business Development Manager - *Apple* Medi...
Job Summary Apple Music is a single, intuitive app that...- all in one place. You can stream any Apple Music song, playlist or album, and download it Read more
Development Operations and Site Reliability E...
Development Operations and Site Reliability Engineer, Apple Payment Gateway Job Number: 57572631 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: Jul. 27, 2017 Read more
Frameworks Engineering Manager, *Apple* Wat...
Frameworks Engineering Manager, Apple Watch Job Number: 41632321 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: Jun. 15, 2017 Weekly Hours: 40.00 Job Summary Read more
Program Manager, *Apple* Pay Business Opera...
…Manager to deliver and sustain a seamless user and support experience for Apple Pay Cash, the upcoming person-to-person payments feature in iMessage. On the Business Read more
Sr. Software Engineer, Core Services, *Apple...
…You will be part of the server team that powers various features within the Apple client applications - iTunes, App Store, iBooks, Podcast, Apple Music etc. You Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.