Thursday, July 03, 2008

Dr. Dobb's | Graphs Versus Objects | July 1, 2008

Back to the future?...

Software objects are the de facto programming paradigm for engineering intelligence into modern computer systems. Objects' labyrinth of inheritance, polymorphism, and encapsulated data, intermeshed with ifs, whiles, and for loops, are the basis for flying airplanes, producing health diagnoses, and surfing the Web. Sometimes we escape this rigid paradigm and place the program intelligence elsewhere, such as databases and files. In most cases, knowledge solutions are a hybrid of approaches. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages. An alternative approach—graphs—offers a contrast to these traditional holders of programming intelligence. Graphs have improved significantly with the coming of the Semantic Web, where graphs are a key tenet. In this article, we introduce graphs through a comparison with objects. This approach illustrates some key advantages while stirring up a little controversy. Some would say we should start with comparing graphs to databases and other similar approaches, but this would constrain graphs to a more traditional role. Graphs, as you will see, can help in all areas of knowledge management, including Web 2.0 and beyond.

Dr. Dobb's | Graphs Versus Objects | July 1, 2008

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