Databases: 50 years of stupidity


Database conventions are not best practices.  Database naming conventions are based on random ontological concepts.  Ideas about what constitutes an entity are misdirected.  Programmers know nothing about what a class or an object is or how to name them.  Hierarchical, Relational and Network databases have maintained a persistent and ignorant set of practices that the information technology intelligencia have followed mindlessly.  What we have after 50 years is a brute force patchwork of bad design practices and mediocre engineering that continues to work within the same set of assumptions.  It’s a product of the inertia of intellectual lethargy that dominates not just the technological world, but the world that uses technology in general.  Workers are too busy being inefficient and ineffective to improve their business practices.  They jump at silver bullet solutions that promise results without change.

Database people have never understood data.  Programmers have never understood data.  They have instead tried to please everybody’s ontological misconceptions with grotesque architecture and then shoehorn it all into a physical processor that is about as progressive and efficient as the internal combustion engine.  Eco-nut technologists like to use buzzwords like “organic” to describe the chaotic crap they are producing on the web.  It isn’t organic, its a massive slum composed of any piece of detritus the occupants can build with surrounding a district of monolithic towers of gross excess and shameless waste.  Google’s motto is “Don’t be evil.”  Has any company ever considered having the motto, “Be good”?  The more I work with corporations the more I recognize that goodness is discouraged and evil is whatever the corporation says it is.  If you work for anyone you are part of a Milgram experiment and you are delivering those electric shocks everyday under the direction of psychopaths.  The merit you get promoted for is based on your willingness to flip those switches more than anyone else.  Having a conscience is deemed unprofessional and grounds for termination.

This is the environment within which real innovation has to work.

Hungarian Backwords Notation, a naming convention by Charles Simonyi, has been abused and bastardized by programmers and database administrators with no understanding of semantics, which is most of them.  Consequently, it has been rejected by a large portion of the IT community.  Not even Microsoft knew what it had.  I fought with Simonyi’s concept for years and applied it in several working applications successfully against massive resistance.  The more I worked with it the more I realized that Object Oriented Programming was based on a completely false ontology.  The metaphors were completely wrong.  And the Unified Modeling Language entrenched the misconceptions even further.  Information technology is spawning increasing complexity without any appreciation for underlying order.  The order was datatypes.  There are only a handful of Classes and they are datatypes. The English are backwards, not the Hungarians.

If the world was looked at as a collection of datatype classes the entire philosophy of data and programming and systems would have to change.  Objects do not have properties, properties have objects.  And there are only a handful of properties.  I’ve realized this and it has changed my perspective of data design forever.  Throw away your OOP and your Data Model textbooks.  They’re crap.  Google, Apple and Microsoft are not the future.  Einstein had a better grip on reality than Turing ever did.  The typical mind, including the IT mind, still thinks elephants are bigger than the moon.

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