Of Objects and Databases: A Decade of Turmoil

Michael J. Carey

IBM Almaden Research Center



A decade ago, the connection between objects and databases was new and was being explored in a number of different ways within our community. Driven by the perception that managing traditional business data was largely a solved problem, projects were investigating ideas such as adding abstract data types to relational databases and building extensible database systems, object-oriented database systems, and toolkits for constructing special-purpose database systems. In addition, work was underway elsewhere in the computer science research community on extending programming languages with database-inspired features such as persistence and transactions. In this talk, we take a look at where our field was a decade ago and where it is now in terms of database support for objects. We look both at research projects and at commercial database products. We share our vision and our biases about the future of objects and databases, and we identify a number of research challenges that remain to be addressed in order to ultimately achieve our vision.

(Based on a joint VLDB-96 paper with David DeWitt)