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01 October 2009, 11:26

W3C proposes non-SQL database API

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w3c Hot on the heels of its working draft for local storage of key-value pairs in browsers (Web Storage), the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has now released a draft for more demanding database requirements. The WebSimpleDB API defines browser functions for enabling ordered retrieval of values, efficient searching and storage of multiple values for a single key.

The API utilises familiar large database concepts, such as primary keys, transactions and entities. It also, however, describes only one key-value association and knows nothing of data types as used in standard databases. The W3C goes out on a limb when it comes to primary keys, in that it allows the addition of records containing an existing key, overwriting the existing record. The use of indices allows relations between tables to be specified, ensuring referential integrity.

The W3C draft differs from earlier SQL-based proposals by incorporating the concept of unstructured data, arranged in entities. The only place this type of interface is currently used is in the WebKit Engine used by Apple in its Safari browser. Many critics were unhappy with the consequent commitment to a query language and a (relational) data model. Fundamental objections to the storage of data in browsers have also been raised.


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