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Comparison of Post-Relational and Object-Relational modelling for real-world database applications

Nikitas N. Karanikolas (Department of Informatics, Technological Educational Institute (TEI) of Athens, Athens, Greece)
Michael Vassilakopoulos (Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Thessaly, Volos, Greece)

Journal of Systems and Information Technology

ISSN: 1328-7265

Article publication date: 4 November 2014




The purpose of this paper is to compare the use of two Object-Relational models against the use of a post-Relational model for a realistic application. Although real-world applications, in most cases, can be adequately modeled by the Entity-Relationship (ER) model, the transformation to the popular Relational model alters the representation of structures common in reality, like multi-valued and composite fields. Alternative database models have been developed to overcome these shortcomings.


Based on the ER model of a medical application, this paper compares the information representation, manipulation and enforcement of integrity constraints through PostgreSQL and Oracle, against the use of a post-Relational model composed of the Conceptual Universal Database Language (CUDL) and the Conceptual Universal Database Language Abstraction Level (CAL).


The CAL/CUDL pair, although more periphrastic for data definition, is simpler for data insertions, does not require the use of procedural code for data updates, produces clearer output for retrieval of attributes, can accomplish retrieval of rows based on conditions that address composite data with declarative statements and supports data validation for relationships between composite data without the need for procedural code.

Research limitations/implications

To verify, in practice, the conclusions of the paper, complete implementation of a CAL/CUDL system is needed.

Practical implications

The use of the CAL/CUDL pair would advance the productivity of database application development.


This paper highlights the properties of realistic database-applications modelling and management that are desirable by developers and shows that these properties are better satisfied by the CAL/CUDL pair.



N. Karanikolas, N. and Vassilakopoulos, M. (2014), "Comparison of Post-Relational and Object-Relational modelling for real-world database applications", Journal of Systems and Information Technology, Vol. 16 No. 4, pp. 313-340.



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Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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