Definition

object-oriented database management system (OODBMS or ODBMS)

An object-oriented database management system (OODBMS), sometimes shortened to ODBMS for object database management system), is a database management system (DBMS) that supports the modelling and creation of data as objects. This includes some kind of support for classes of objects and the inheritance of class properties and methods by subclasses and their objects. There is currently no widely agreed-upon standard for what constitutes an OODBMS, and OODBMS products are considered to be still in their infancy. In the meantime, the object-relational database management system (ORDBMS), the idea that object-oriented database concepts can be superimposed on relational databases, is more commonly encountered in available products. An object-oriented database interface standard is being developed by an industry group, the Object Data Management Group (ODMG). The Object Management Group (OMG) has already standardized an object-oriented data brokering interface between systems in a network.

In their influential paper, The Object-Oriented Database Manifesto, Malcolm Atkinson and others define an OODBMS as follows:

An object-oriented database system must satisfy two criteria: it should be a DBMS, and it should be an object-oriented system, i.e., to the extent possible, it should be consistent with the current crop of object-oriented programming languages. The first criterion translates into five features: persistence, secondary storage management, concurrency, recovery and an ad hoc query facility. The second one translates into eight features: complex objects, object identity, encapsulation, types or classes, inheritance, overriding combined with late binding, extensibility and computational completeness.

Their paper describes each of these features in detail.

Contributor(s): K. P. Krishna Kumar
This was last updated in September 2005
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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