Re: Replacing WebSQL with a Relational Data Model.

On Mon, Oct 25, 2010 at 10:24 AM, Keean Schupke <> wrote:
> We ( produce websites and mobile apps. We have been looking
> at HTML5 for developing mobile apps, and for the kind of apps that we want
> to produce the client side WebSQL API provided what we needed. The IndexedDB
> is not suitable (no joins, no compound indexes etc...).
> Having discussed the reasons for the lack of progress of the WebSQL
> standard, I wanted to get a feeling for the willingness of browser
> implementers to consider a different approach to SQL, something more like
> HaskellDB (a Haskell database layer) and LINQ for C#. Rather than
> implementing an SQL like syntax, what I am proposing is to implement
> relational algebra directly.
> I have a published peer reviewed paper (Haskell Workshop 2004) where we
> implemented a type safe relational algebra in Haskell, and my idea is to
> port this to JavaScript. The API can be formally defined to implement the
> complete relational algebra, and hence have a standardised API that can be
> implemented in all browsers, yet would be capable of having different
> backends (SQLite, Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle etc...)
> Here is an example of using relational algebra as a Domain Specific Language
> in Haskell:
> {- This is how we would write the relational statement in SQL.
> UPDATE Animal
>    SET Animal.location=?newLocation?
>  WHERE Animal.animalid IN
>          SELECT Contaminated.animal
>            FROM Contaminated,Animal
>           WHERE Animal.type=?animalType?
>            AND Contaminated.type=?contaminationType?
>            AND Animal.animalid=Contaminated.animal;
> -}
> -- This is how we would write it in a Haskell DSL.
> moveContaminatedAnimal :: DAnimalType -> DCntdType -> DFarmId -> Query ()
> moveContaminatedAnimal animalType contaminationType newLocation = do
>     a1 <- table animalTable
>     a2 <- restrict a1 (\r -> r!AnimalType `SQL.eq` animalType)
>     c1 <- table contaminatedTable
>     c2 <- restrict c1 (\r -> r!CntdType `SQL.eq` contaminationType)
>     j1 <- join SqlInnerJoin a2 c2 (\r -> r!AnimalId `SQL.eq` r!CntdAnimal)
>     j2 <- project j1 (CntdAnimal .*. HNil)
>     doUpdate animalTable
>         (\_ -> AnimalLocation .=. toSqlType newLocation .*. HNil)
>         (\r -> r!AnimalId `SQL.elem` relation j2)
> The syntax would obviously be different, but I would expect something like
> (It may end up looking nothing like this, as I need to think about the best
> way of representing the Haskell Relation Monad in JavaScript).
> -- this is something like what would be required in JavaScript
> function moveContaminatedAnimal(animalType, contaminationType, newLocation)
> {
>     a1 = new Table(animalTable);
>     a2 = new Restriction(a1, new Eq(function(row) {row[AnimalType]},
> animalType));
>     c1 = new Table(contaminatedTable);
>     c2 = new Restriction(c1, new Eq(function(row) {row[CntdType]},
> contaminationType));
>     j1 = new InnerJoin(a2, c2, new Eq(function(row) {row[AnimalId]},
> function(row) {row[CntdAnimal]}));
>     j2 = new Projection(j1, [CntdAnimal]);
>     update(animalTable, function(row) {row[AnimalLocation] = newLocation},
> new Elem(function(row) {row[AnimalId], j2}));
> This constructs the update Animal query from the "Farm" database, which is a
> commonly used example schema in academic papers. NOTE: the implementers are
> free to try to write a relational database in JavaScript, but most
> implementations would construct the SQL query string and then execute it on
> an SQL database backend (SQLite / PostgreSQL / MySQL).
> Its pretty easy to define the complete relational algebra, the base Query
> class would need the following sub-classes:
> SqlBinaryOp = SqlAdd | SqlSub | SqlMul | SqlDiv | SqlMod | SqlEq
>     | SqlGe | SqlGt | SqlLt | SqlLe | SqlNe | SqlAnd | SqlOr | SqlIn
> SqlAggrOp = SqlCount | SqlSum | SqlMax | SqlMin | SqlAvg | SqlStdDev |
> SqlVariance
> SqlRelationOp = SqlInnerJoin | SqlLeftJoin | SqlRightJoin | SqlFullJoin
> SqlSetOp = SqlUnion | SqlIntersection | SqlDifference
> Table, Projection, Restriction, Extension, Limit, Order, Join, Union,
> Intersect, Except
> and the methods: select, update, insert, delete
> This would pretty much represent a port of my Haskell work to JavaScript.
> The Haskell code also includes schema management, enabling the entire schema
> to be defined, as data, and allowing the database to be created or validated
> against the schema.
> Here is the schema for the Farms table in Haskell:
> {- domains -}
> newtype DFarmId = DFarmId Int deriving (Show,Eq,ToSqlType
> SqlInteger,FromSqlType SqlInteger)
> newtype DFarmName = DFarmName String deriving (Show,Eq,ToSqlType
> SqlVarchar,FromSqlType SqlVarchar)
> newtype DFarmCounty = DFarmCounty String deriving (Show,Eq,ToSqlType
> SqlVarchar,FromSqlType SqlVarchar)
> newtype DFarmerId = DFarmerId Int deriving (Show,Eq,ToSqlType
> SqlInteger,FromSqlType SqlInteger)
> data FarmId = FarmId deriving Show
> data FarmName = FarmName deriving Show
> data FarmCounty = FarmCounty deriving Show
> data FarmOwner = FarmOwner deriving Show
> type FarmTable = Table (
>     FarmId :=: Attribute DFarmId SqlInteger :*:
>     FarmName :=: Attribute DFarmName SqlVarchar :*:
>     FarmCounty :=: Attribute DFarmCounty SqlVarchar :*:
>     FarmOwner :=: Attribute DFarmerId SqlInteger :*:
>     HNil)
> farmTable :: FarmTable
> farmTable = newTable "Farm" (
>     FarmId .=. Attribute (attr { attrName="farmid", attrType="SERIAL" }) .*.
>     FarmName .=. Attribute (attr { attrName="farmname", attrSize=20 }) .*.
>     FarmCounty .=. Attribute (attr { attrName="county", attrSize=15 }) .*.
>     FarmOwner .=. Attribute (attr { attrName="owner" }) .*.
>     HNil)
> We could do something similar in JavaScript for table creation and
> validation with version control and selective automatic update (the code can
> derive some updates automatically, like if you add a new column to a table
> that is nullable or has a default value).
> As this is a relational data model, it can be entirely defined as an
> abstract API, with no reference to any SQL at all. I could provide a
> reference implementation written in JavaScript on top of WebSQL, but the
> idea would be for browser implementers to implement directly using SQLite
> (for example).
> I would appreciate any advice on how to proceed with this? If implementers
> would be interested in implementing a relational API?

Hi Keean,

This definitely sounds interesting, though admittedly I have a hard
time following the details of it. However, like Jeremy, I don't see us
doing yet another storage mechanism. But I do think this could work
really well as additional functionality added to IndexedDB.

Adding support for things like joins, filters and edit operators is
something that I think would be interesting to look at for next
version of IndexedDB. In the meantime I'd love to see prototypes
implemented in javascript on top of IndexedDB. You can probably even
prototype the exact API that you think this should have.

One thing that I'm wary of is going the full relational route of
requiring that values be split up into columns. It's really nice that
javascript objects can be stored as-is, and then use key-paths to
access specific values within an object. But I think that should be
doable while still keeping the benefits of your proposal.

/ Jonas

Received on Tuesday, 26 October 2010 00:51:47 UTC