September 28, 2023

Boosting Efficiency: PL.NET's Redefinition of Database Languages

In the ever-evolving landscape of database management, one language stands out for its versatility and innovative approach: PL.NET. Unlike its counterparts, such as IBM's DB2 and Microsoft SQL Server, PL.NET takes a unique stance by embracing multiple languages, including C#, F#, and even Visual Basic. This approach places PL.NET steps ahead of the competition.

.NET was originally designed as a multi-language environment, featuring three widely used languages. Among these, F#, while perhaps less mainstream, offers a wealth of tools for creating robust applications. It introduces Milner typing, a powerful feature that allows developers to use computer science principles to build correctness guarantees into their work. It's a curious omission, then, that DB2 and SQL Server limit themselves to supporting only C# when .NET was built with language diversity in mind.

PL.NET's superiority over SQL Server and DB2 doesn't stop at language support. It also excels in its approach to exposing database concepts naturally within the language itself. Two examples illustrate this point vividly.

The first example revolves around "inout functions." These functions handle arguments that can flow into, out of, or both into and out of a procedure or function. Although functional programming typically rejects such constructs due to their complex semantics, SQL supports them, necessitating their inclusion in PL.NET. In C#, PL.NET deftly employs C#'s native support for out parameters and reference parameters, aligning with SQL's approach. However, in F#, a functional programming language, PL.NET adapts to the functional style, maintaining separate input and output parameters.

The second example concerns "set-returning functions," where a function returns multiple rows of data, a powerful capability in a database environment. DB2's mapping of this feature is cumbersome, leaving developers to handle raw data processing and complex loop management. PL.NET streamlines this process by handling all the intricacies within the environment and elegantly mapping them to iterators in both C# and F#. C# and F# handle iterators differently, but PL.NET ensures the database behavior seamlessly aligns with each language's native patterns.

Unlike DB2, which leaves developers to wrestle with raw data and complex processing, PL.NET simplifies the experience. Developers can write such functions in just a few lines of code in PL.NET compared to the thirty lines required in DB2. This meticulous attention to detail results in a significantly improved developer experience, where clean code can take center stage. PL.NET takes care of the database complexities, allowing developers to focus solely on building their applications.

DB2, unfortunately, falls short in this regard. While improvements are needed, the lack of significant changes over the years has left a gap. PL.NET, in contrast, provides an enticing opportunity for DB2 developers to transition their stored procedure code to PostgreSQL. The move to PostgreSQL aligns with the modernization trends in the database industry, offering developers enhanced capabilities and a more seamless experience.

In summary, PL.NET's forward-thinking approach not only broadens language support but also streamlines database concepts, ensuring a superior developer experience. While DB2 and SQL Server have their merits, PL.NET's commitment to language diversity and attention to detail place it at the forefront of the database management arena, catering to the evolving needs of developers and applications.