ODBM, the Open Database Model, is an open source initiative created for the purpose of making publicly and freely available tools and resources to build very large databases and models, much like proprietary enterprise information systems often used by large corporate entities, such as Oracle and SQL Server.
Why is it important?
A lot of companies and other organisations spend an inordinate amount of time "reinventing the wheel" when they build their own enterprise databases or large data warehouses, redefining common data records such as names, addresses, phone numbers, charts of accounts, product catalogues, etc. As data modelling is both demanding and expensive, industry experts are advocating an open source schema design standard that will save everyone a great deal of time and money, especially for the small and medium sized business who probably don't have the in-house skills and experience required, and therefore would normally have to hire outside consultants to complete the work. A database schema of a database system is its structure described in a formal language supported by the database management system, DBMS for short. It also refers to the organization of data to create a master plan of how a database will be put together (further divided into distinct database tables).
How is it done?
Taking advantage of the latest theories and practice in logical data modelling and data warehouse design, many sections of the database, such as people, organisations, orders, products, human resources, calendars/schedules and so on will be based on industry standard practices.
By lowering the cost of common functions such as data cleansing, archiving and staging, all achieved through programs created by independent software developers using ODBM designs, it's envisaged ODBM standard tables will encourage the exchange of common datasets such as financial statements, time-zone/daylight saving rules, calendars, and state tax tables.
ODBM will also espouse the principles of object-oriented programming, through code reuse of public and privately available data, thereby reducing operating costs and providing timely online information to small and medium sized companies that couldn't previously afford it.
Click here for a comprehensive database of UK open source developers.
What does the ODBM initiative hope to achieve?
Many small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) simply can't afford the hundreds of thousands of dollars/pounds/euros that are required in the long development cycle leading to sophisticated database model designs.
The ODBM initiative will achieve the following:
1. Give SMEs a database model proven to work in very large organisations.
2. Provide a clean design with immense potential to handle their own specific structured data needs.
3. Deliver a database tool that scales very well with future organisation growth.
Most importantly, by avoiding proprietary technologies an ODBM database will protect their considerable investment in data entry and maintenance, as it avoids vendor lock in and defines a clear migration path for growing organisations.
What's the latest status and the current version of ODBM?
ODBM is still in beta status and there is as yet no formal version numbering system in place. However, based on the database behind skyBuilders community computer webWare version 0.98, ODBM is currently on release .98 using the same core technologies.
The most recent ODBM database already has over 100 tables. All tables are published on the web for universal access, with SQL scripts to create tables in most of the major RDBMS formats. Ongoing work involves coding to auto-generate SQL scripts for additional RDBMS database formats, plus peer review and suggestions for improvements to new tables and other content. Everyone's views and feedback are sought in the spirit of the open source community.
Who are skyBuilders?
skyBuilders are a technology company specialising in web-based information systems. Their tools are open source and based on ODBM for most web servers and relational databases. As well as writing software such as web servers, content management systems and many other applications they also produce hardware devices, such as integrated turnkey web servers, application servers and database servers.