David Janes' Code Weblog

November 24, 2008

Database roundup

db,ideas,python,semantic web · David Janes · 7:27 am ·

Here’s a few things I was reading about over the weekend.


SQLAlchemy is a full-featured Design Pattern-heavy pythonic database ORM. I am totally going to use this for my next Python SQL database project and may even do some playing with old datasets (using the reflection features, yum) soon. If you are considering doing SQL work on your next Python project, don’t even bother with the usual PEP 249 stuff, start with this.

Note that if you’re working with Django it handles the DB in its own way so SQLAlchemy may be of limited utility.


CouchDB “is a distributed, fault-tolerant and schema-free document-oriented database accessible via a RESTful HTTP/JSON API”. I couldn’t have written that more succently myself, so I didn’t. I qualified the paragraph above on SQLAlchemy that I’m going to use that for my next SQL project because I’m really biting at the bit to try CouchDB out. The CouchDB design philosophy – a REST API a returning lists of JSON-objects – reflects my current design paradigm very closely, and the only question I have is whether in practically scales to millions of rows.

A caveat that it’s written in the-cool-nerds-are-doing-it language Erlang, but because you don’t have to interact with that it should be OK for us mortals.

CouchDB is about to officially become a “top level” Apache project, though none of the documentation on the Apache.org site reflects this yet.


Virtuoso is a “high-performance object-relational SQL database”. It apparently can perform well. As I came across through the Planet RDF aggregator, this may be something you want to look into if you’re working on an RDF/SPARQL project.

Amazon Web Services Hosted Data Sets

That’s a mouthfull, isn’t it? Amazon is offering to host public datasets on EC2 for free. What’s the catch? It will host the data, but you have to pay for the computing resources to use that data in the normal EC2 manner. Still, if you’re using a large public dataset and you’re already EC2-friendly, you might want to consider this program. An even more interesting thought occurs (though I’m not sure if it will fly): if you’re using large amounts of your own data on EC2, you may want to offer it up as a free resource.

There’s more on this on by Lidija Davis on Read/Write Web.


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