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Subject: Re: [boost] quince: queries in C++ expressions
From: Michael Shepanski (mps_at_[hidden])
Date: 2014-07-18 04:02:14

On 18/07/2014 5:00 PM, Roland Bock wrote:
> Thinking about this, I just realized why I might have such a hard time
> with those user-defined classes: In a earlier version (still in C++03),
> I used something similar to tuples to define the results of a select.
> That often led to inefficient code. Instead of writing a type that
> represented just the n columns they actually needed, people tended to
> use all columns all the time, just because they were too lazy to write
> this extra class.

Sometimes the burden of selecting just the needed part of the output is
not so great in quince, where you can work in multi-column types. E.g.:

    for (const address &addr:>home_address))

might retrieve five columns at once.

> I therefore wanted the library to calculate the result types based on
> what is selected, which never was a big deal, but required the auto
> keyword to be usable.
> That's why in sqlpp11 you don't have to write such classes. You declare
> what you want to be selected inside the expression.
> On the other hand, of course, it is a neat feature to be able to map
> directly to user-defined structs. Maybe I'll find a way to do that in
> sqlpp11, too :-)

The collector class aspect is a bit of sugar that I added because it
turned out to be easy. On the other hand, having user-defined structs as
mapped types (as in the example above) was always a core feature in my
mind. I guess I see the ascent from SQL syntax to C++ syntax, and the
ascent from SQL types to C++ types, as two aspects of the same ascent.

> You lose on type-safety in sqlpp11, too, when doing something like this,
> but in several of our projects, such dynamic parts are a hard
> requirement. And it was quite painful to learn that because the
> type-safety was one of the main drivers for developing the library in
> the first place.

Funnily enough, one of my pre-quince attempts at a DAL *did* provide
something similar to an untyped version of a quince query. If you
executed it you would get row objects, and you'd have to figure out how
to use something a bit like mappers to extract values from them. That
was all because I hadn't figured out how to use tuples to provide
type-safety without table-based value types. That product even had a
with() method, which was like a widening select (because my thoughts
about compositionality weren't so firm then).

With quince, I thought the move to full static typing was pure forward
progress -- but maybe not.

> It's been quite an interesting comparison/discussion so far. I think we
> shed some light on differences and similarities of quince and sqlpp11. I
> certainly got a some ideas for improving sqlpp11 (e.g. table definitions
> and mapping to user-defined structs) and stuff to think about (e.g
> quince's way of composing queries).
> Cheers,
> Roland

The thing that amazes me most is that we are such a small club. When I
read things online about how ORM is "the Vietnam of computer science",
and the way people seemed to have coined the phrase "impedance mismatch"
specifically to mean "I'm sad because I can't write queries in my
programming language", I wonder why everyone isn't attempting this.

--- Michael

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