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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If a global node contains special characters, (eg : a line returns), it will be displayed like this in Portal ("System > Globals > View Global Data" panel) :

^A(1) = "this is"_$c(13,10)_"a test"

I would like to export global data to a txt file using a similar format.

I already wrote the main code (that loops on all nodes and dump them to file), the problem is how to handle special characters.
For the moment I replace them manually one by one. It works, but it's far from perfect :

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Currently, we have an application running in one namespace ("Database B") that has globals and routines mapped to another database ("Database A"). After enforcing clean up on Database A, we found that 90% of the disk is free. We would like to compact Database A and release the unused space. However, we are running OpenVMS, which seems to be the issue.

For databases consisting of only globals, we are able to use ^GBLOCKCOPY; however, we need to ensure that the routines and mappings are also copied.

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Question
Sebastian Mueller · Aug 25, 2016
Iterate through global

Let's imagine I have a global like this:

^Users(12, "SETTINGS", "IsAllowed") = 1

^Users(41, "SETTINGS", "IsAllowed") = 0

^Users(52, "SETTINGS", "IsAllowed") = 1

Now I would like to check for each user whether they are allowed, therefore I'd need to iterate through the Global. How to do that? It seems that I can't use $Order here like such:

S FF = ""
For {
S FF=$O(^Users(FF,"SETTINGS","isAllowed"))
Q:$L(FF)
W "User ",FF," is allowed",!
}

Is there any other way of doing this?

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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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