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Tag - TDocVariant

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2015, Sunday August 23

"SQL and NoSQL", not "SQL vs NoSQL"

You know certainly that our mORMot Open Source framework is an ORM, i.e. mapping objects to a relational / SQL database (Object Relational Mapping).
You may have followed also that it is able to connect to a NoSQL database, like MongoDB, and that the objects are then mapped via an ODM (Object Document Mapping) - the original SQL SELECT are even translated on the fly to MongoDB queries.

But thanks to mORMot, it is not "SQL vs NoSQL" - but "SQL and NoSQL".
You are not required to make an exclusive choice.
You can share best of both worlds, depending on your application needs.

In fact, the framework is able to add NoSQL features to a regular relational / SQL database, by storing JSON documents in TEXT columns.

In your end-user code, you just define a variant field in the ORM, and store a TDocVariant document within.
We also added some dedicated functions at SQL level, so that SQLite3 could be used as embedded fast engine, and provide advanced WHERE clauses on this JSON content.

Continue reading...

2014, Friday April 18

Introducing mORMot's architecture and design principles

We have just released a set of slides introducing 

  • ORM, SOA, REST, JSON, MVC, MVVM, SOLID, Mocks/Stubs, Domain-Driven Design concepts with Delphi, 
  • and showing some sample code using our Open Source mORMot framework.

You can follow the public link on Google Drive!

This is a great opportunity to discovers some patterns you may not be familiar with, and find out how mORMot try to implement them.
This set of slides may be less intimidating than our huge documentation - do not be terrified by our Online Documentation!
The first set of pages (presenting architecture and design principles) is worth reading.

Feedback is welcome on our forum, as usual.

2014, Saturday March 29

Enhanced and fixed late-binding of variants for Delphi XE2 and up

For several units of our framework, we allow late-binding of data values, using a variant and direct named access to properties:
- In SynCommons, we defined our TDocVariant custom variant type, able to store any JSON/BSON document-based content;
- In SynBigTable, we use the TSynTableVariantType custom variant type, as defined in SynCommons;
- In SynDB, we defined a TSQLDBRowVariantType, ready to access any column of a RDBMS data result set row;
- In mORMot, we allow access to TSQLTableRowVariantType column values.

It's a very convenient way of accessing result rows values. Code is still very readable, and safe at the same time.

For instance, we can write:

var V: variant;
 ...
  TDocVariant.New(V); // or slightly slower V := TDocVariant.New;
  V.name := 'John';
  V.year := 1972;
  // now V contains {"name":"john","year":1982}

This is just another implementation of KISS design in our framework.

Since Delphi XE2, some modifications were introduced to the official DispInvoke() RTL implementation:

  1. A new varUStrArg kind of parameter has been defined, which will allow to transmit UnicodeString property values;
  2. All text property values would be transmitted as BSTR / WideString / varOleStr variants to the invoked variant type;
  3. All textual property names were normalized to be in UPPERCASE.

Those modifications are worth considering...
And we may have discovered two regressions: one about speed, and the other about an unexpected logic bug...

Continue reading...

2014, Tuesday February 25

TDocVariant custom variant type

With revision 1.18 of the framework, we just introduced two new custom types of variants:

  • TDocVariant kind of variant;
  • TBSONVariant kind of variant.

The second custom type (which handles MongoDB-specific extensions - like ObjectID or other specific types like dates or binary) will be presented later, when dealing with MongoDB support in mORMot, together with the BSON kind of content. BSON / MongoDB support is implemented in the SynMongoDB.pas unit.

We will now focus on TDocVariant itself, which is a generic container of JSON-like objects or arrays.
This custom variant type is implemented in SynCommons.pas unit, so is ready to be used everywhere in your code, even without any link to the mORMot ORM kernel, or MongoDB.

TDocVariant documents

TDocVariant implements a custom variant type which can be used to store any JSON/BSON document-based content, i.e. either:

  • Name/value pairs, for object-oriented documents;
  • An array of values (including nested documents), for array-oriented documents;
  • Any combination of the two, by nesting TDocVariant instances.

Here are the main features of this custom variant type:

  • DOM approach of any object or array documents;
  • Perfect storage for dynamic value-objects content, with a schema-less approach (as you may be used to in scripting languages like Python or JavaScript);
  • Allow nested documents, with no depth limitation but the available memory;
  • Assignment can be either per-value (default, safest but slower when containing a lot of nested data), or per-reference (immediate reference-counted assignment);
  • Very fast JSON serialization / un-serialization with support of MongoDB-like extended syntax;
  • Access to properties in code, via late-binding (including almost no speed penalty due to our VCL hack as already detailed);
  • Direct access to the internal variant names and values arrays from code, by trans-typing into a TDocVariantData record;
  • Instance life-time is managed by the compiler (like any other variant type), without the need to use interfaces or explicit try..finally blocks;
  • Optimized to use as little memory and CPU resource as possible (in contrast to most other libraries, it does not allocate one class instance per node, but rely on pre-allocated arrays);
  • Opened to extension of any content storage - for instance, it will perfectly integrate with BSON serialization and custom MongoDB types (ObjectID, RegEx...), to be used in conjunction with MongoDB servers;
  • Perfectly integrated with our Dynamic array wrapper and its JSON serialization as with the record serialization;
  • Designed to work with our mORMot ORM: any TSQLRecord instance containing such variant custom types as published properties will be recognized by the ORM core, and work as expected with any database back-end (storing the content as JSON in a TEXT column);
  • Designed to work with our mORMot SOA: any interface-based service is able to consume or publish such kind of content, as variant kind of parameters;
  • Fully integrated with the Delphi IDE: any variant instance will be displayed as JSON in the IDE debugger, making it very convenient to work with.

To create instances of such variant, you can use some easy-to-remember functions:

  • _Obj() _ObjFast() global functions to create a variant object document;
  • _Arr() _ArrFast() global functions to create a variant array document;
  • _Json() _JsonFast() _JsonFmt() _JsonFastFmt() global functions to create any variant object or array document from JSON, supplied either with standard or MongoDB-extended syntax.

Continue reading...