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Strongly typed, compile-time safe and loosely coupled data persistence

Yao, Conglun (2010)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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A large number of approaches have been developed to simplify construction of, and to reduce errors in, data-driven applications. However, these approaches have not been particularly concerned with compile-time type safety. Type mismatch errors between program and the database schema occur quite often during program development, and the techniques used in these approaches often defer error checking on database operations until runtime. In this thesis, we take a different approach from those previously proposed, based on strict type checking at compile time, type inference, higher-order functions, phantom types, object relational mapping, and loosely coupled database interaction. Instead of using external, literal XML file and string type SQL, we embed the mapping meta data and user defined queries directly in the program, the type safety of which is guaranteed by the program compiler. Such a result is achieved by introducing additional database schema information and using type avatars, a dummy structure used to extend the type checking to embedded queries, during compilation. We show that this approach is practical and effective by implementing a compile-time type-safe object relational framework, called Qanat, in the OCaml programming language and using a loosely coupled SQL database. We further report experimental results obtained by running a number of benchmark tests, and compare the resulting Qanat applications with the equivalent, raw database driver based applications.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Sexton, Alan P.
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Engineering & Physical Sciences
Department:School of Computer Science
Subjects:QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:1186
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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