I’m working on a not so new project at home. The goal is to use an existing RDBMS in an OODBMS way. I know, it’s a project doomed to failure, but that won’t stop me from trying. :-)

Essentially, I need to convert an old ASP driven site to something MySQL/Perl/XML driven. It’s just your average run of the mill commerce site. But here’s the kicker. Rather than just move the database from MSSQL to MySQL, I wan to revamp the schema completely.

If you’ve ever tinkered under the hood of MS Commerce Server, one of the things that stands out is how it stores part/product information. Rather than trying to make all parts fit into the same mold, part are grouped by type, and each type has it’s own set of attributes. A CD and a wrench are the same, so why shove them into the same mold?

In a nutshell, you have tables thatg store the part definitions and other tables that store the part attributes. Instead of a part geing a single row with its attributes being the columns, each row is a different attribute name/value for a given part.

Luckily, the site I’m workin on has about 500 parts or so most of which are semi related. I’ve read the various Google newsgroup postings. The OODBMS vs. RDBMS seems like a religous topic at best. Worst case; it’s a learning experience.

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