Re: Programming project required

From: James Rogers (
Date: Sun Jan 21 2001 - 14:39:35 MST

On Sun, 21 Jan 2001, Emlyn wrote:
> > Surely not compared to Windows which to this
> > day cannot even deal with multiple users correctly.
> ??? Are you talking about NT5, or Win3.1?

Any version, take your pick. Windows in all its incarnations has never
been a multiuser environment. Take a look at the odd and ugly hack that is
Citrix Winframe, trying to (badly) get the same multiuser capability out of
Windows that has been a basic feature of Unix for ages (e.g. X).

> However, SQL Server I do love; version 7 is fabulous. I don't know what DBAs
> think of it; I know it requires you to replace the Oracle style architecture
> of a couple of beasty servers with a cluster of zillions of little,
> cantankerous machines.But from a developer's point of view, it's pretty
> damned good. The tools are sweet, too.

Oracle has a great core engine surrounded by tools and development toys
that are totally ass. Hence why there is a thriving market for
third-party Oracle development tools, many of which are as good as you
will find on any database platform. SQL Server has the reverse situation,
with lots of reasonably decent development tools surrounding a core engine
that is still pretty lame (though v7 is quantum improvement over v6.5).
Since a business runs on the core engine, not on the development tools,
Oracle is still widely preferred by most management teams. After all,
good tools can be purchased for Oracle as well (just not from Oracle).
Also from a management standpoint, Oracle is extraordinarily portable and
can be migrated with minimal effort to *really big* systems -- no code
rewrites to change platforms.

I should also point out that while simple database development can be
accomplished using GUI tools, there are many things in the database world
for which there is no substitute for dropping to a rich CLI shell to run
complicated scripts. Like Oracle SQL*Plus on a Unix character terminal.

>From the standpoint of a DBA/SA on really large database systems, I would
take Oracle over SQL Server any day. Oracle has been doing these types of
systems far longer than Microsoft, and ultimately, managing giant complex
systems from any Windows system is painful.

Of course, there is more than just Oracle and SQL Server. DB2 for

> Borland Delphi is sweet, beautiful, GUI based and proud.

This really is a superior product for GUI application development. I am
looking forward to the Unix versions I've heard are coming out.

> Nowadays I'm writing ASP to talk directly to a database. We're not using a
> middle tier :-(, but jscript, as the scripting language, is turning out to
> be incredibly efficient (compared to how I expected it to perform); I wrote
> a SQL Server -> Oracle sql translator so that we could support multiple dbs
> more easily, and I never notice any performance hit, which is surprising
> because I never designed for speed, and I'm pretty sure the thing is
> computationally intensive.

Perhaps the fact that you are using ASP puts the SQL translation below the
performance noise floor. :^)

> I'm really happy with the current state of the Microsoft OSes, although I
> wish they could finally drop the 9x kernel. They're good to program on. They
> do lots of great stuff for you.

This really depends on what kind of programming you are doing. Some of
the low-level stuff in those OSes are really pretty awful. The APIs are
far too rich (and broken in some fashion a third of the time), and there
are way too many odd and complicated side effects. Look at the thread
APIs/model on NT if you want an example of a diseased design and
implementation. I've done parallel development on Windows NT and Unix; I
spent far more time fscking with the Windows specific code than the Unix
specific code because there were a lot more things that could go wrong.
The beauty of Unix is that it *doesn't* try and do a lot of great stuff
for you.

-James Rogers

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