Article
Alexander Koblov · May 20, 2016 12m read
Collations in Caché

Order is a necessity for everyone, but not everyone understands it in the same way
(Fausto Cercignani)

Disclaimer: This article uses Russian language and Cyrillic alphabet as examples, but is relevant for anyone who uses Caché in a non-English locale.
Please note that this article refers mostly to NLS collations, which are different than SQL collations. SQL collations (such as SQLUPPER, SQLSTRING, EXACT which means no collation, TRUNCATE, etc.) are actual functions that are explicitly applied to some values, and whose results are sometimes explicitly stored in the global subscripts. When stored in subscripts, these values would naturally follow the NLS collation in effect (“SQL and NLS Collations”).

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Introduction

In the first article in this series, we’ll take a look at the entity–attribute–value (EAV) model in relational databases to see how it’s used and what it’s good for. Then we'll compare the EAV model concepts to globals.

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Globals, these magic swords for storing data, have been around for a while, but not many people can use them efficiently or know about this super-weapon altogether.

If you use globals for tasks where they truly shine, the results may be amazing, either in terms of increased performance or dramatic simplification of the overall solution (1, 2).

Globals offer a special way of storing and processing data, which is completely different from SQL tables. They were first introduced in 1966 in the M(UMPS) programming language, which was initially used in medical databases. It is still used in the same way, but has also been adopted by some other industries where reliability and high performance are top priorities: finance, trading, etc.

Later M(UMPS) evolved into Caché ObjectScript (COS). COS was developed by InterSystems as a superset of M. The original language is still accepted by developers' community and alive in a few implementations. There are several signs of activity around the web: MUMPS Google group, Mumps User's group), effective ISO Standard, etc.

Modern global based DBMS supports transactions, journaling, replication, partitioning. It means that they can be used for building modern, reliable and fast distributed systems.

Globals do not restrict you to the boundaries of the relational model. They give you the freedom of creating data structures optimized for particular tasks. For many applications reasonable use of globals can be a real silver bullet offering speeds that developers of conventional relational applications can only dream of.

Globals as a method of storing data can be used in many modern programming languages, both high- and low-level. Therefore, this article will focus specifically on globals and not the language they once came from.

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Motivation

This project was thought of when I was thinking of how to let Python code deal naturally with the scalable storage and efficient retrieving mechanism given by IRIS globals, through Embedded Python.

My initial idea was to create a kind of Python dictionary implementation using globals, but soon I realized that I should deal with object abstraction first.

So, I started creating some Python classes that could wrap Python objects, storing and retrieving their data in globals, i.e., serializing and deserializing Python objects in IRIS globals.

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The Art of Mapping Globals to Classes (4 of 3)

The forth in the trilogy, anyone a Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy fan?

If you are looking to breathe new life into an old MUMPS application follow these steps to map your globals to classes and expose all that beautiful data to Objects and SQL.

If the above does not sound familiar to you please start at the beginning with the following:

The Art of Mapping Globals to Classes (1 of 3)

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Article
Alexey Maslov · Nov 23, 2017 12m read
Where is my global stored?

It's well-known that namespace global mapping helps us to write code independent on database storage details (Caché instance name, directory path). But sometimes we can face problems accessing an unsubscripted global which has subscript level mapping (SLM) defined. Most of such cases are evident and associated with administrative tasks that should be done on database level, but some of them can confuse even an experienced developer. Just to start:

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In the previous parts (1, 2) we talked about globals as trees. In this article, we will look at them as sparse arrays.

A sparse array - is a type of array where most values assume an identical value.

In practice, you will often see sparse arrays so huge that there is no point in occupying memory with identical elements. Therefore, it makes sense to organize sparse arrays in such a way that memory is not wasted on storing duplicate values.

In some programming languages, sparse arrays are part of the language - for example, in J, MATLAB. In other languages, there are special libraries that let you use them. For C++, those would be Eigen and the like.

Globals are good candidates for implementing sparse arrays for the following reasons:

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Hi folks,
It's time now for a Micro Service Demo with a total fresh IRIS Image and an image that you both PULL with
docker and run with only 4 lines of docker commands.
June 1st, 2020 - rcc

There is now a compact All-in-1 version available that combines all parts in a single container image.
For details see: IRIS-NativeAPI-Nodejs-compact
May 24, 2020 - rcc

I have added a simplified installation using Docker, see context
May 25, 2020 - rcc

There are enhanced scripts suitable & tested for Linux & Windows available here
https://github.com/rcemper/WSockClientMicroSV/blob/master/READMEwindows.MD
May 26, 2020 - rcc

This demo is a redesign of the WebSocket Client based on Node.js existing already for Caché. The major changes:

  • use of the new IRIS Native API for Node.js especially Working with Global Arrays
  • change from a directly triggered client to a server design
  • put the result into a separate docker image as an example for a MicroService / MicroServer
  • add a simple interface in IRIS to control the MicroService execution.

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Process-private Globals can be used as a data global in storage definition. That way, each process can have its own objects for the class with ppg storage. For example lets define a pool, which can:

  • add elements to a pool (ignoring duplicates)
  • check if an element exists in the pool

Here's the class:

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NewBie's Corner Session 27 Traversing A Global with $Order Part 1

Welcome to NewBie's Corner, a weekly or biweekly post covering basic Caché Material.

Traversing A Global

Perhaps the most difficult concept in Caché/MUMPS is its Global Structure. This session and several that follow it deals with the Global Structure. However, just presenting the material will not guarantee your understanding of it. You must experiment with the data and concepts that are presented.

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Article
Sergey Kamenev · Nov 11, 2019 11m read
Transactions in Global InterSystems IRIS

InterSystems IRIS supports a unique data structure, called globals, for information storage. Essentially, globals are persistent arrays with multi-level indices, having several extra capabilities—transactions, quick traversal of tree structures, and a programming language known as ObjectScript.

I'd note that for the remainder of the article, or at least the code samples, we'll assume you have familiarised yourself with the basics of globals:

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In this article you will have access to the curated base of articles from the InterSystems Developer Community of the most relevant topics to learning InterSystems IRIS. Find top published articles ranked by Machine Learning, Embedded Python, JSON, API and REST Applications, Manage and Configure InterSystems Environments, Docker and Cloud, VSCode, SQL, Analytics/BI, Globals, Security, DevOps, Interoperability, Native API. Learn and Enjoy!

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We're developing Ensemble PoC and one day our frontend developer (who doesn't have Ensemble production running) said that Populate just doesn't cut it and he needs to see the real data. He needed only one object, but the problem was - it's a big object. Still, I checked ids of everything related and wrote this command (parts omitted, but you get the idea):

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A More Industrial-Looking Global Storage Scheme

In the first article in this series, we looked at the entity–attribute–value (EAV) model in relational databases, and took a look at the pros and cons of storing those entities, attributes and values in tables. We learned that, despite the benefits of this approach in terms of flexibility, there are some real disadvantages, in particular a basic mismatch between the logical structure of the data and its physical storage, which causes various difficulties.

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At the heart of IRIS and Cache is a very interesting database architecture that we, at M/Gateway Developments, refer to as "Global Storage". If you ever wanted to know more about the fundamentals and capabilities of this underlying database, you might want to read a major analysis we've put together:

https://github.com/robtweed/global_storage

Amongst other things you'll discover that:

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For some years I missed being able to offer, to everybody interested in ObjectScript, a tutorial more or less complete, to start with ObjectScript. Something that could help more and make things easier to those new developers that come to our technology... something intermediate, halfway between the common "Hello World!", that doesn't really get you further, and the "Advanced Training", that is unaffordable because of lack of time,etc.

If there were something truly helpful not only as an introduction to the ecosystem, but as a starting point, as a boost, to really start to walk into ObjectScript and move forward by yourself... wouldn't that be awesome?

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Article
Robert Cemper · Jul 21, 2020 2m read
Un-Typical persistence
This is a coding example working on Caché 2018.1.3 and IRIS 2020.2 
It will not be kept in sync with new versions 
It is also NOT serviced by InterSystems Support !

During my search for a snapshot of a persistent object,
I met a feature that I would like tho share as it could be useful in some special situations.
My trigger was to have a before- and an after-image during unit testing.

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