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The prospects of ORM Lite

Last post 10-13-2013 17:40 by Ken Evans. 19 replies.
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  • 07-26-2010 3:48

    The prospects of ORM Lite

    Dear all,

    I'd like to hear your thoughts about ORM Lite. 

    In a previous thread, Fenton asked for a free tool for ORM, to be used by students and enthusiasts. It would certainly help in the adoption of ORM.  I would think that ORM Lite could be the answer.  It would just need an update of its user interface to make it easier to use (e.g. remove the planning interface) .  Better documentation would also help.

    I would be curious to know how stable ORM Lite currently is : is it still buggy or production ready ?  Is it complete in its coverage of ORM-2 ? Would anybody be willing to help ?  (Private responses are welcome)

    Thanks in advance,

    Pierre C.

  • 07-26-2010 5:46 In reply to

    Re: The prospects of ORM Lite

    Pierre,

    I have asked the author of ORM Lite (Brian C Christensen) to respond to your post.

    Ken

  • 07-26-2010 6:09 In reply to

    Re: The prospects of ORM Lite

    Pierre,

    When I last corresponded with Brian (18 months ago) he had no plans for further work on ORM-Lite. I believe he got married few months back - congratulations Brian! - so may continue to have other priorities for some time.

    At the time I was considering producing a similar thing in Flash and asked if I could borrow ideas from his code. However, the browser technology has moved on and I've started building APRIMO using the Raphael Javascript framework. Raphael uses VML in Microsoft browsers and SVG elsewhere, and is already capable of producing almost any diagram you can draw in NORMA, running in IE7&8, Chrome, Safari and Firefox 3+. However, so far APRIMO has no semantic back-end. My intention is to run the backend on a public server with restricted free access and paid subscriptions, but I'm seeking some sponsorship to complete the work. If you have some time to contribute, contact me privately.

    If you want to create Object Role models and map them to RDBMS designs, but don't need the diagrams, you can use my open-source implementation of the Constellation Query Language. This is what I'm using to build the backend for APRIMO, and in future you will be able to import your CQL models and add diagrams using APRIMO.

    Clifford Heath, http://dataconstellation.com

  • 07-26-2010 10:03 In reply to

    Re: The prospects of ORM Lite

    Clifford,

    Thank you for sharing your idea of using Raphael for a web drawing tool, although it's not clear how much progress you've made on that. 

    Wouldn't it be great to have a free web drawing tool capable of creating an ORM model, and then to export it using a standard ORM exchange format, so that additional functions could be added on the server (or on clients), such as file sharing, verbalisation, transformations to RDBMS format, and whatever other functions one could think of ? The second best choice would be to use ORM-Lite for that purpose, I guess.

    PC
  • 07-26-2010 14:42 In reply to

    Re: The prospects of ORM Lite

    Pierre C. ,

    I welcome your interest in ORM Lite. The tool is intended to serve exactly the purpose you described. I note that the version posted on the ORM Foundation web site (v0.11a) has been downloaded 369 times. That suggests that there is some interest, at least, in an ORM Lite tool.

    I should probably make a few comments about the "planning interface". The primary reason to include ORM Lite within the GanttPV scheduling tool was for marketing. I wanted to get ORM into the hands of many people who would otherwise never have heard of it. Under its GanttPV name, ORM Lite (v0.11b) has been downloaded from SourceForge.net: 12,243 times in the Windows version, 6,653 times in the Macintosh version, and 1,478 times in the Linux/Unix version. Based on these numbers, ORM Lite may be the most widely distributed ORM-2 modeling tool.

    It would be relatively easy to remove or de-emphasize the planning interface in ORM Lite. I personally find it useful to have the project planning tools readily available when working on ORM projects, but I am open to suggestions on this topic.

    "How stable is ORM Lite?" I would have to say that ORM Lite is more towards the production ready end of the spectrum that the buggy end. What is there is fairly solid. It can be used to draw ORM diagrams. I have received emails from users who are using ORM Lite for production work and are happy with the tool. On the other hand, the included versions of Rmap and SQL table generation were quite limited.

    "Is it complete in its coverage of ORM-2?" ORM Lite includes nearly all of the ORM-2 symbols. The only ones lacking are a few of the most recent (and controversial) additions.

    "Would anybody be willing to help?" Good question! I hope many people become interested.

    Currently, I am working on several major upgrades to ORM Lite. I have nearly completed a restructuring of the internal code to make certain improvements easier to implement. Another upgrade in process is a verbalizer for ORM Lite. A third is an "Implementation Sequence Diagram" that is intended to help user interface designers work from an ORM model.

    I am always grateful for suggestions, feedback, and support. (It would also help if I could find someone who would pay me to work on ORM and ORM Lite. Suggestions anyone? ^_^)

    Did you have any other questions?

  • 07-26-2010 14:46 In reply to

    Re: The prospects of ORM Lite

    Clifford,

    Rumors of my marriage are greatly exaggerated.

  • 07-26-2010 15:26 In reply to

    Re: The prospects of ORM Lite

    Thank you Brian,

    I'm glad to hear that you are making progress on this development. I wish I could give you an answer on the sponsorship side.  Maybe it is possible to develop it as an alternative to the Visual Studio version, and draw some revenue from it. For example, by charging for some of its functionality, or when the model becomes larger.

     

    BrianC:
    It would be relatively easy to remove or de-emphasize the planning interface in ORM Lite. I personally find it useful to have the project planning tools readily available when working on ORM projects, but I am open to suggestions on this topic.

    I would suggest to publish them as a bundle of 2 programs: you would be able to start either one of them directly, or go from one to the other. You would get the benefit of exposure, as you suggest, and you can use one of the program without being distracted by the other.  After all, the interactions between the 2 are minimal, I would think. Documentation would be separate too.

     PC

  • 07-26-2010 18:50 In reply to

    Re: The prospects of ORM Lite

    Pierre,

    Perhaps you'd like a pony with that? :-)

    More than 90% of my last three years of unpaid work is available free of charge. You can build models of almost any complexity, using almost every feature of ORM2 that's available in NORMA (you can also import from NORMA), and a few that aren't. The tools generate code for MSSQL, MySQL and Ruby, and you can easily extend it to generate code for any other RDBMS or programming language you wish to. You just can't do it using pictures, rather using CQL, the Constellation Query Language. There are resources for learning CQL on my website, along with installation instructions.

    If you want ORM2 pictures, you can draw those with APRIMO already. You just can't do anything else with those pictures yet. See an old wrapper around the drawing widget here.

    I must however reserve some parts of my work to retain the prospect of commercial returns, and APRIMO is in that category. Sorry, but it's not going to be free, though I will allow some level of free access once it's available. All the functions you mention will be available in the first public release.

    Clifford Heath, Data Constellation, http://dataconstellation.com
    Agile Information Management and Design

  • 07-28-2010 4:17 In reply to

    Re: The prospects of ORM Lite

    Thanks Clifford,

    I understand the need for commercial returns.  For some reason, I favor a free drawing tool, and chargeable additional services on the server, which seems to be the opposite of your approach.  

    Are you aware that your javascript source code for APRIMO can easily be read on most browsers?  I have just accessed the source code of your widget, using Firebug on Firefox. Could this lead to abuse ?

    Best regards,

    PC

  • 07-28-2010 4:42 In reply to

    Re: The prospects of ORM Lite

    Could this lead to abuse?

    Of course, that's why there's a copyright notice on it, which is sufficient for me to pursue commercial abuse (and for the same reason). The JS only represents 3-4 weeks of work, the bulk of the work is in the server-side. In any case, as they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

    Commercial users of such a development tool from a small company will not choose it unless they have a fall-back position that enables them to continue work, and that's what the open source platform allows. Trust me, I've been building commercial application development tools for thirty years. You only need to charge for the icing on the cake...

  • 11-19-2010 9:23 In reply to

    Re: The prospects of ORM Lite

    This is an old thread but there is another ORMLite (http://ormlite.sourceforge.net/) currently under development that might also be a good one for students and enthusiasts.  It was designed to be lightweight with no dependencies but provide some powerful features.  The documentation is extensive with online HTML and PDF docs available.

     One of the  interesting features of my ORMLite (sorry for the name overlap Brian) is that the database backend has been extracted so it can support both JDBC and Android OS API calls.  I'm also thinking of adding a Amazon AWS SImpleDB backend as well to support Amazon's version of bigtable.

     

  • 11-19-2010 10:02 In reply to

    Re: The prospects of ORM Lite

    Thanks for letting us know about your ORMLite.
    However, having looked at your SourceForge link, it seems to me that your tool is about object relational mapping.

    This website is about object-role modeling which is a term that goes back to the 1970's.
    AFAIK, the term "object-relational mapping" was coined circa 2000 as a name for the techniques related to bridging the "gap" between "objects" in the OO paradigm and relational databases.

    So it seems that whilst the two ORM's share an acronym, they are definitely not homonyms.

    Do you agree?

    Ken

     

     

  • 11-19-2010 10:48 In reply to

    Re: The prospects of ORM Lite

     I certainly do agree Ken.  Sorry to not click around your site some more to figure it out.   I then wouldn't have wasted your time.

     Thanks for the response.

    gray

     

  • 11-19-2010 11:29 In reply to

    Re: The prospects of ORM Lite

    Thanks, but no need to apologise and I don't feel that my time was "wasted".

    It's all part of helping folks to be aware of power of "real ORM" Big Smile

    There is certainly a need for object relational mapping and I expect that your new tool will be just great for doing it.

    But as I see it, object relational mapping is an important technique in systems development, whereas object-role modeling is about the more fundamental topics of meaning and semantics.

    I hope that you will look more closely into object-role modeling.
    You may even find that it will help you to be more efficient in developing your tool.

    Ken 

     

  • 09-07-2011 12:06 In reply to

    Re: The prospects of ORM Lite

    The new v0.12d release of ORM Lite contains many improvement that make it a better fit for use with students. The ORM diagrams are built in and don't have to be installed by the student. Rmap is available at the touch of a button. Modeling errors are easier to fix. The verbalizer has been improved. The new Entry Sequence Diagram shows the student the implications of mandatory constraints on the use of the database they are designing. While there is still room for improvement, this has been a large step forward. What do you think?
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