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

Notion 2.1.3 - A unified workspace for m...
Notion is the unified workspace for modern teams. Features: Integration with Slack Documents Wikis Tasks More improvements to editing Browse through a page’s images from one place Choose a type... Read more
Cocktail 15.3.7 - General maintenance an...
Cocktail is a general purpose utility for macOS that lets you clean, repair and optimize your Mac. It is a powerful digital toolset that helps hundreds of thousands of Mac users around the world get... Read more
Dropbox 158.4.4564 - Cloud backup and sy...
Dropbox is a file hosting service that provides cloud storage, file synchronization, personal cloud, and client software. It is a modern workspace that allows you to get to all of your files, manage... Read more
WhatsApp 2.2236.10 - Desktop client for...
WhatsApp is the desktop client for WhatsApp Messenger, a cross-platform mobile messaging app which allows you to exchange messages without having to pay for SMS. WhatsApp Messenger is available for... Read more
VOX 3.5.2 - Music player that supports m...
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
TeamViewer 15.34.4 - Establish remote co...
TeamViewer gives you remote control of any computer or Mac over the Internet within seconds, or can be used for online meetings. Find out why more than 200 million users trust TeamViewer! Free for... Read more
ClamXAV 3.5 - Virus checker based on Cla...
ClamXAV is a popular virus checker for OS X. Time to take control ClamXAV keeps threats at bay and puts you firmly in charge of your Mac’s security. Scan a specific file or your entire hard drive.... Read more
Ableton Live 11.2 - Record music using d...
Ableton Live lets you create and record music on your Mac. Use digital instruments, pre-recorded sounds, and sampled loops to arrange, produce, and perform your music like never before. Ableton Live... Read more
Viber 18.5.0 - Send messages and make fr...
Viber lets you send free messages and make free calls to other Viber users, on any device and network, in any country! Viber syncs your contacts, messages and call history with your mobile device, so... Read more
CrossOver 22.0.1 - Run Windows apps on y...
CrossOver can get your Windows productivity applications and PC games up and running on your Mac quickly and easily. CrossOver runs the Windows software that you need on Mac at home, in the office,... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

TouchArcade Game of the Week: ‘Tallowmer...
With its pre-determined launch date of September 30th it didn’t quite make it in time for our weekly round-up of new game releases, but darn it, I just don’t care. I’m not letting that technicality keep me from picking Tallowmere 2 as our Game of... | Read more »
SwitchArcade Round-Up: Reviews Featuring...
Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for September 30th, 2022. In today’s article, our pal Mikhail has another review for us. Gosh, that guy needs a day off! He’s taking a look at Let’s Build a Zoo, and it’s not exactly the... | Read more »
Seven Knights 2 recieves global update i...
Netmarble has announced the latest global update for mobile role-playing game Seven Knights 2. The update will bring brand new characters, some very rewarding events, and reworks to a few old favourite heroes. [Read more] | Read more »
‘GRIS+’ Is This Week’s New Apple Arcade...
Nomada Studio and Devolver Digital’s brilliant GRIS+ () has joined Apple Arcade today as an App Store Great. If you’ve not played it yet, GRIS debuted on PC and Nintendo Switch before seeing PS4 and mobile releases later on. I reviewed the iOS... | Read more »
SwitchArcade Round-Up: Reviews Featuring...
Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for September 29th, 2022. In today’s article, we have a bunch of new releases to check out with the spearhead being The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Anniversary Edition. There’s a little here... | Read more »
‘Residual’ Controller Fix Update Release...
A few weeks back developer OrangePixel released their newest game on mobile called Residual. This is a roguelike survival game where you play as a pilot who crash lands on a procedurally generated planet, filled with all sorts of crazy creatures and... | Read more »
‘Queen’s Wish 2: The Tormentor’ Launchin...
We learned back in July that Spiderweb Software’s latest game Queen’s Wish 2: The Tormentor would be heading to desktop platforms in August, which is exactly what happened, and at that time we were guessing that the iOS version of the game would... | Read more »
‘Kingdom Rush Vengeance’ Primal Ravage U...
Ironhide Game Studio’s Kingdom Rush Vengeance ($4.99) has gotten quite a few updates over the years on iOS, Android, and PC. | Read more »
Interactive Film The Gallery screens at...
The FMV/interactive film hybrid video game genre has been around for a while but doesn’t seem to have that many games out there, but they just might get some more exposure as The Gallery has landed a spot in the Dinar Film Festival 2022. [Read... | Read more »
Terraria’s Massive Labor of Love Update...
Re-Logic’s action platforming sandbox game Terraria ($4.99) has just been updated on mobile and console platforms with its newest major update titled the ‘Labor of Love’ update. | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Apple has M1 Mac minis in stock again startin...
Apple has restocked a full line of M1-powered Mac minis available in their Certified Refurbished section starting at only $589 and up to $140 off MSRP. Each mini comes with Apple’s one-year warranty... Read more
13″ M1 MacBook Airs with 16GB of RAM availabl...
Apple has 13″ M1 MacBook Airs (8-Core CPU/7-Core GPU) in stock today with 16GB of RAM for $190 off MSRP, Certified Refurbished. Apple includes a standard one-year warranty with these models, each... Read more
Update: 13-inch Apple M2 MacBook Airs now on...
Amazon has 13″ MacBook Airs with M2 CPUs in stock today and on sale for $150 off MSRP. Shipping is free. Their prices are now $150 off Apple’s MSRP, and they are the lowest prices available for these... Read more
Save $240 on a 14″ 8-core CPU M1 Pro MacBook...
Apple has the 14″ M1 Pro MacBook Pro with 32GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD (Space Gray) in stock for $2159, Certified Refurbished. Regular price for this configuration is $2399, so their savings amounts... Read more
Save $170 on this 13″ M2 MacBook Pro with 16G...
Apple has 13″ M2 MacBook Pros with 16GB of RAM and 512GB SSDs in stock today for $170 off MSRP ($1529), Certified Refurbished. These are the cheapest 13″ M2 MacBook Pros with this configuration... Read more
This Apple retailer is offering a $350 discou...
Apple retailer Expercom is offering a $350 instant discount on select upgraded 16″ Apple MacBook Pros through October 4, 2022. Shipping is free. Their sale price applies to the following... Read more
Clearance 27″ 5K Apple iMacs are on sale star...
Other World Computing has dropped prices on Apple refurbished, factory-sealed, recently-discontinued 27″ 5K iMacs with models now on sale for up to $950 off Apple’s MSRP, starting at only $849. Their... Read more
Get a new Mac for up to $400 off MSRP at Appl...
Need a new Apple Mac for school? Whether you’re a student, teacher, or staff member, you can use your .edu email address when ordering at Apple Education to take up to $400 off the price of a new Mac... Read more
13-inch Apple MacBook Airs with M2 processors...
Amazon has 13″ MacBook Airs with M2 CPUs in stock today and on sale for $1099. Shipping is free. Their prices are $100 off Apple’s MSRP, and they are the lowest prices available for M2-powered Macs... Read more
AR Glasses That Work With Apple’s Hardware? T...
NEWS – Lenovo has created quite the spectacle(s) with its latest product. “Apple Glass” — the purported name of Apple’s forthcoming AR glasses — is not expected to be released until 2025 (at the... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Electronic Repair Technician - PlanI...
…a highly motivated individual to join our Production Department as an Apple Electronic Repair Technician. The computer repair technician will diagnose, assemble, Read more
( *Apple* ) Production Designer/Artist - TEKs...
…Art Ops team supports production, asset management, quality control, and global publishing for Apple Media Products, like Apple Music. The Art Ops team is Read more
Operations Associate - *Apple* Blossom Mall...
Operations Associate - Apple Blossom Mall Location:Winchester, VA, United States (https://jobs.jcp.com/jobs/location/191170/winchester-va-united-states) - Apple Read more
Cashier - *Apple* Blossom Mall - JCPenney (...
Cashier - Apple Blossom Mall Location:Winchester, VA, United States (https://jobs.jcp.com/jobs/location/191170/winchester-va-united-states) - Apple Blossom Mall Read more
Sephora Beauty Advisor - *Apple* Blossom Ma...
Sephora Beauty Advisor - Apple Blossom Mall Location:Winchester, VA, United States (https://jobs.jcp.com/jobs/location/191170/winchester-va-united-states) - Apple Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.