Monday, March 12, 2007

TopLink, GLORP and O/R mapping

Oracle open-sourced TopLink last week. For those who dont know: TopLink is a object-relational mapping framework (that lets developers work cleanly at the object level rather than in relational tables). TopLink is now part of Oracles application server.

As many other notable technologies TopLink was invented and marketed in Smalltalk first and later ported to Java. The first version was written by Jon Hylands at The Object People (TOP). There is a nice summary of the history at the Oracle website.

As you may know The Object People got diverted into doing mostly Java work, and were eventually bought and split into two pieces (WebGain got the TOPLink piece, and BEA got the services piece). WebGain is now out of business, and TOPLink was sold to Oracle.

While Java people may be satisfied with TopLink any informed Smalltalker know that there is a more enhanced successor written by Alan Knight: GLORP (Generic Lightweight Object-Relational Persistence). Alan was also working at TOPLink and is now working for Cincom.

James Robertson recorded a nice podcast last week talking with Alan Knight and Michael Lucas-Smith on GLORP and about O/R mapping in general. Thanks James, for making this available!

BTW: Jon Hylands is building autonomous controllers today using Squeak Smalltalk.

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