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"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."
The need to persist data created at runtime is as old as computing. And the need to store object-oriented data cropped up when object-oriented programming became pervasive. Currently, most modern, nontrivial applications use an object-oriented paradigm to model application domains. In contrast, the database market is more divided. Most database systems use the relational model, but object-based data stores prove indispensable in many applications. Plus, we also have legacy systems that we often need to interface to.
This article identifies the issues associated with data persistence in transactional middleware environments, such as J2EE (Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition), and shows how Java Data Objects (JDO) solves some of those issues. This article provides an overview, not a detailed tutorial, and is written from the viewpoint of an application developer, not a JDO implementation designer.
Read the whole series on Java Data Objects:
Those Java developers, designers, and J2EE architects who work on systems that must store data in relational or object databases, or other storage media should read this article. I assume you have a basic knowledge of Java and some familiarity with object-relational issues and terminology.
More than a decade of continuous attempts to bridge object-oriented runtime and persistence point to several important observations (listed in order of importance):
One comment here: While relational databases enjoy the biggest market presence by far, providing a unified persistence API and allowing data-store providers to compete on implementation strengths makes sense, regardless of the paradigm these providers use. This approach might eventually help level the playing field between the two dominant database vendor groups: the well-entrenched relational camp and the struggling-for-market-share object-oriented camp.