Rethinking Agility in Databases - Part VI: Structure and Information, Revisited

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Rethinking Agility in Databases 5/9/2008 6:43 PM

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The Hypothesis

Here’s the hypothesis du jour. There are three elements to a database: behavior, content, and information. You might say “Hey! Where did structure go?” Structure is a kind of behavior; it defines how a database formats its content.

Behavior

All the things the database does. This includes structure, triggers, stored procedures, constraints, domain data, et cetera. In short: everything the development team teaches a database.

Content

The set of facts in the database. Everything the database knows about the domain. e.g.: “Customer 1234’s first name is ‘Joe.’” In short: everything a database learns in the course of performing its duties.

Information

Answers to questions. More accurately: what the asker of a question learns from the answer. This is a synthesis of behavior and content.

Simply put: behavior uses content to create information on demand.

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