An object database (also object-oriented database) is a database model in which information is represented in the form of objects as used in object-oriented programming.
Object databases are a niche field within the broader DBMS market dominated by relational database management systems (RDBMS). Object databases have been considered since the early 1980s and 1990s but they have made little impact on mainstream commercial data processing, though there is some usage in specialized areas.
When database capabilities are combined with object-oriented (OO) programming language capabilities, the result is an object database management system (ODBMS).
Today’s trend in programming languages is to utilize objects, thereby making OODBMS ideal for OO programmers because they can develop the product, store them as objects, and can replicate or modify existing objects to make new objects within the OODBMS. Information today includes not only data but video, audio, graphs, and photos which are considered complex data types. Relational DBMS aren’t natively capable of supporting these complex data types. By being integrated with the programming language, the programmer can maintain consistency within one environment because both the OODBMS and the programming language will use the same model of representation. Relational DBMS projects using complex data types would have to be divided into two separate tasks: the database model and the application.
As the usage of web-based technology increases with the implementation of Intranets and extranets, companies have a vested interest in OODBMS to display their complex data. Using a DBMS that has been specifically designed to store data as objects gives an advantage to those companies that are geared towards multimedia presentation or organizations that utilize computer-aided design (CAD).
Some object-oriented databases are designed to work well with object-oriented programming languages such as Ruby, Python, Perl, Java, C#, Visual Basic .NET, C++, Objective-C and Smalltalk; others have their own programming languages. ODBMSs use exactly the same model as object-oriented programming languages.
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