Friday, 9 June 2017

Interworking with MySQL databases

Previous posts in this blog have discussed the use of HTTP for direct operations with the DBMS. With Pyrrho's support for RESTViews it becomes very important to have REST interfaces to other DBMS, and there are several products such as dreamfactory and restifydb that offer this.

From today the Pyrrho distribution includes a very simple solution for MySQL, called RestIfD , and controllers to support other DBMS will probably be added over time. RestIfD should be started up by an administrator on the same host as the MySQL instance, and left running. It requires no configuration, creates no files and uses very little memory. It provides a REST service on http://localhost:8803/REST/MySQL , and all requests should include an Authentication header giving the user and password for accessing MySQL.

To obtain a list of databases in Json format, use GET to http://localhost:8803/REST/MySQL . To send one or more commands to MySQL, place them in posted data to POST http://localhost:8803/REST/MySQL .

To obtain a list of tables on database db in Json format, use GET to http://localhost:8803/REST/MySQL/db .To send one or more commands for database db to MySQL, place them in posted data to POST http://localhost:8803/REST/MySQL/db .The group of commands is executed in a single transaction.

To obtain the rows of table tb on database db, in Json format, use GET to http://localhost:8803/REST/MySQL/db/tb .

To filter these results using a where condition or document w, use GET to http://localhost:8803/REST/MySQL/db/tb/w . You can delete rows from the table by using a DELETE requests to a similar url.

To update a single row in table tb on database db, send it in Json format as posted data to POST http://localhost:8803/REST/MySQL/db/tb . The row to be updated will be identified by the key fields in the supplied data.

To add a single row to table tb in database db, send it in Json format as posted data to POST http://localhost:8803/REST/MySQL/db/tb .

Comments welcome.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Pyrrho Version 6.0

The new version completes some of the changes announced in previous posts in this blog.

A: Open Source Version and Append Storage

Append storage has been a build option for some time in Pyrrho, and the new version uses it by default for the Open Source version. Unfortunately this means that databases built with the previous default version of OSPSvr (up to 5.7) cannot be used with the new default build (v.6) because they won't have the encrypted end-of-file marker.
Workarounds for users incovenienced in this way include continuing to use v5.7 for now, manually to strip the last 5 bytes from the binary file, or rebuild v6's OSPSvr without the APPEND flag. But see the next point.
v.6 OSPSvr by default doesn't support the Distributed and Partitioned features either but again these can be restored by removing the LOCAL build flag. The Pro version by default continues to use the end-of-file tamper-proof lock and distributed/partitioned features. These have been enhanced as described below.

B: Using the latest version of C#

The codebase uses the 2017 version of C# with its shortcut implicit declarations e.g. if (x is SomeClass y), and .NET's clever new Task model for some purposes, including for Push, described next.

C: Push and Pull for update notifications

Distributed and Partitioned operation up to v 5.5 was not very scalable as transaction masters and base partitions were contacted at the start of every transaction by every replica and partition to check that the local copies were up to date. Some versions since v.5.5 have contained bugs in this area. This is now remedied in v6.0 with the following interesting design, visible in the Open Source codebase and used in the default PyrrhoSvr build.
From v6.0 servers holding slave databases and partitions check their copy information is up-to-date only on start-up, and thereafter receive Push notifications about any changes to database length. They will retrieve the details of the changes when and if they need to. This mechanism works in a hierarchical way so that the Push load is shared by intermmediate servers if these have been configured. All this did complicate the implementation, since server-server communication channels need to be between threads, but it is worthwhile for theoretical reasons.
I will update the screenshots and documentation in the distributed and partitioned tutorials in the next days.

D: Enhancements to the HTTP/REST services

Previous posts in this blog have referred to ETags and RESTViews. A paper on these has now been published, thanks to Friz Laux, Mart Laiho and Carolyn Begg. The practical effect of these features could be adopted much more widely than Pyrrho, and I hope to return to this aspect soon.
Basically, it would be great if all DBMS provided a really simple REST service so that a simple GET would get a table (or other query results) in Json format together with an RFC7232 ETag. Even better if such a view was also potentially updatable with PUT, POST and DELETE. If this is done, database applications can always use WebRequests instead of the clunky APIs: JDBC,ODBC, ADO.NET, JPA.... The authorisation arrangements for this should also be simple and preferably role based, and use the If-Match HTTP header to check ETags.
This works already for Pyrrho (If-Match from v6), and there is more:
HTTP is stateless so the simple steps described above don't provide a way of making several changes in a single HTTP call. But at least for a single database, ACID transactions can be supported by a simple POST of an SQL statement to the database (+role) URL, since SQL statements can be compound and have exception handlers etc. And the POST can be guarded by If-Match to if the SQL statement contains data previously obtained from the database.
It is definitely a step too far in my opinion to try to use these mechanisms for transactions that change more than one database.
As usual, any comments welcome, preferably to malcolm.crowe at (make sure the subject line of the email is relevant).

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Anonymous row types and monotonic functions

A previous blog post explained about the usefulness of mutually inverse function pairs. It is also useful to know if a function is monotonic. Many joins can be speeded up if the join condition uses a function that is known to be monotonic, so that the table operands are then automatically sorted before forming the join.
Most CASTs are monotonic, and Pyrrho now allows a user-defined function to be declared MONOTONIC through the use of metadata.
For example
create function f(b date) returns (int,int) monotonic return (extract(year from b),extract(month from b))
This function could be used to help join a table with a date primary key to one with a primary key containing year and month, using a join condition such as WHERE (y,m)=f(b) .
In this example we also two small innovations in the current version, as (a) the return type of the function is an anonymous row type, (b) no real distinction is made in Pyrrho now between ON conditions in inner joins, and WHERE conditions in cross joins.
In recent versions of the SQL standard ON conditions can be any boolean expression, so by default Pyrrho combines them and decides which is faster, and whether an index can be used to speed things up.

Friday, 31 March 2017

Adapter functions, updatable views and joins

With the introduction of REST Views it has become more interesting to support updatable views and joins, and more important to support adapter functions. The Beta version 5.7 of Pyrrho makes some important contributions in these aspects.
In the following sample, we model a situation where databases have columns that nearly match but do not quite do so. For example suppose Table A(B,C) has an integer primary key B, while table D(E,G) uses corresponding string values all prefixed by the letter H as its primary key E. It is easy to define a suitable adapter function F

create function f(x int) returns char return 'H'|| cast(x as char)

and create a view of A that makes sense in D's database:

create view v as select f(b) as fb,c from a

D, however, wishes to be able to update table A, so would like this view to be updatable. Pyrrho allows the declaration of an inverse of F:

create function f1(a char) returns int inverts f return cast(substring(a from 1) as int)

where the phrase "inverts f" is parsed as metadata for the new function f1 (otherwise everything so far is ordinary standard SQL). This makes f and f1 into mutually inverse functions, that is, declaring f1 as an inverse for f also declares f as an inverse of f1. The machinery works for multiple parameters using row types for the return values.

This makes v updatable and we can write

insert into v values('H91','This is new')

We can also use such adapter functions in referential constraints, e.g. a slight extension to SQL in Pyrrho allows us to declare the above relationship between tables A and D as follows:

create table d (e char references a using f1,g int)

The following SQL sample code demonstrating the above ideas is supported by Pyrrho 5.7 as of today.

create function f(x int) returns char return 'H'|| cast(x as char)
[create function f1(a char) returns int inverts f return cast(substring(a from 1) as int)]
select f(45) from static
select f1('B67') from static
create table a(b int primary key,c char)
insert into a values(23,'Twenty3'),(42,'Forty2')
create view v as select f(b) as fb,c from a
select * from v
insert into v values('H91','This is new')
table a
create table d (e char references a using f1,g int)
insert into d values('H23',234),('H91',567)
create view w as select c,e from a left join d on b=f1(e)
delete from w where c='Twenty3'
table a

Friday, 17 March 2017

Composite Database example with details

This post gives more details of the example contained in the posting Composite Databases in this blog.

The following transcripts use the beta version 5.7 of Pyrrho dated 16 March 2017, and using localhost instead of servA, with servers A and B using folders \A and \B respectively. I have set a debugging –D flag on server A so that that we can see the use of RVVs and ETags.
We begin by setting up the databases on servers A and B:
Database A:
create table D (e int primary key, f char, g char)

insert into D values (1,'Joe','Soap'), (2,'Betty','Boop')

Database B:

create table H (e int primary key, k char, m int)
insert into H values (1,'Cleaner',12500), (2,'Manager',31400)
[create view W of (e int, f char, g char) as get

create view V as select * from W natural join H

The square brackets here are added because of the embedded newline added in the formatting of the page.
After setting up the databases on A and B with B’s views defined, we see the transaction log contents for A and B. Some of the numbers shown will be used in RVV and ETags in what follows.

We see at position 381 that the URL http://localhost:8180/A/A/D has been provided in metadata for the view W. W was defined in position 366 in terms of the anonymous structure with columns E, F, G declared at position 290.

The use of position numbers instead of identifiers in the definition of view V at position 439 is a standard feature of Pyrrho to allow renaming of objects.
In the blog post we now have the following operations on database B:
select e,f,m,check from V where e=1

Note that in normal use there is no need to request the check pseudocolumn: it is here so can show what is happening within the two databases. The database API uses it to implement the Versioned feature in client side “database model” classes.
Here, the check value was requested explicitly in the SELECT statement, and shows that this row of the join uses a row from A with defining position 209 placed there in transaction 193 (see the log for A) and a row from B with defining position 208 arising from transaction 192 (see the log for B).
The debug information for server A shows the REST request from B to A, and the ETag it constructed.

The ETag consists of an RVV for the first row of the result (mentioned above), and a readCheck for the read operation carried out by A. This was a specific row in table D (position 69) with key (1) .
The next operation is
update v set f='Elizabeth' where e=2

We see there is now an updated ETag supplied by A showing the new transaction that has updated the record defined at 241.
Also check B’s view using the join:

The next operation is an Insert into the View/RestView/Join combination:
[insert into v(e,f,g,k,m)

This time the readCheck information indicates it will conflict with any read operation on table 69.
And again verifying the view from B:

Finally, we try a deletion from the View/RestView/Join combination:

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Improvements to the Object-Oriented API

For years now, Pyrrho has offered an object-oriented API for C#, and will generate a C# class definition for any base table for any given database and role. Tutorials offered demos of how these classes could be extended by adding in relational data, and over the years versioning was added so that all such C# classes are subclasses of Versioned.
The mechanisms have now been enhanced in the following important ways:
  1. Full class definitions are now available for Views and structured types as well as base tables,
  2. Deep structure is supported: Pyrrho will define nested classes for subjects in tables or views, and for user-defined types. (All such classes are Versioned too)
  3. The Versioned base class now includes a readCheck in addition to a row Check.
As discussed in this blog, for base tables, the row Check is a row version validator in the sense of Laiho and Laux's paper, and for other data may be an ETag in the sense of RFC 7232. In complex cases (e.g. results that do not correspond directly to base table rows) either or both may be empty.
The readCheck is for checking later whether the query used to obtain the data would get the same results.
Class definitions can be found in the "Role$Class" table.Such a class C can then be used with the database connection with the following methods added to the usual IDbConnection interface:
  • C FindOne()
  • C[] FindWith(string where)
  • C[] FindAll()
  • Post(C s)
  • Put(C s)
  • Delete(C s)
  • Check(string check)
  • Check(string check,string readCheck)
Triggers and generated columns apply, and Post and Put update affected fields of s along with the Versioned values.

Monday, 5 September 2016

ETags and Row version validation

Web resources often come with semantically useful information (starting with the URI), for example RDF [1] or OWL types [2]. HTTP now offers ETags (Fielding and Reschke, 2014, RFC7232) in responses to allow caching of results, and ETags can be used for validating a step in a transaction. ETags are very similar to the RVV concept[3] or MVCC [4], successfully used in PostGRES [5], SQL server [6] Oracle [7] etc to provide optimistic execution.  
The purposes of the two concepts, however, remain different, and become more clearly visible when we try to generalise their use to more complex situations such as composite databases, updatable views, joins, and general queries.
For Pyrrho in simple cases the ETag can coincide with the strong RVV validator (CHECK) for requests that return a row of a base table: so implementing this feature amounts to an extension of the Pyrrho API's Versioned mechanism (See also this discussion on REST in Spring).
In this blog I have previously suggested that RVV should be updated if related data changes, but I have been persuaded that the validator should just be for the contents of the row itself.
In that case, I want to extend the idea of RVV to updatable views and joins. In such objects, each row has a direct relationship with specific base table rows, so an RVV for the view will reflect changes to these rows.
It is a moot point whether the result of a query is a Web resource. It is possible that it contains nothing directly copied from any base table, but if an ETag was returned with the result it would contain the information that the result has not changed since the last time the it was computed.
Also, we should bget the same versioning information from a View that we would get with the associated SELECT statement.
So, consider the following:

(a) RVV

The RVV if present includes row version validators for any base table row whose values appear in the result row.
The RVV will be absent for a row that does not identify any single row in a contributing base table (e.g. some of the rows in select distinct or  group by). RVVs are computed for base tables using the Laiho/Laux algorithms, and indicate the transaction point that last modified the values of the row in the base table. For query results, an RVV is copied into a result row by the first contributing row and removed if more than one row contributes.
RVV can be used to identify a set of rows to be deleted or updated, and so have an immediate use in the API in an application-side object to identify corresponding individual base table row(s) in the database.

(b) ETag

The ETag if present indicates the latest transaction points of the values used to compute the values in the row.
The ETag will be absent if the row does not come from any database contents (e.g. the row consists of constants, current_time, current_user etc). There is an obvious algorithm for computing ETags from RVVs. For rows coming from base tables the ETag is the same as the RVV. When another row contributes, the ETag becomes the later transaction point.
ETags can be used for HTTP caching as described in RFC7232. However, we note that for complex queries the server would have to recompute the result to see if the ETag is valid.
If results come from more than one database, RVVs and ETags will be lists of values, at most one from each database.
From today, The CHECK pseudofunction in Pyrrho gives the RVV if defined for a row, and the ETag returned with a REST result is for the first result in the result set. If an ETag is supplied with a REST request, it is checked for validity.
The RVV is also used in the Pyrrho API, so that Find<C> and similar functions return Versioned objects that can be used with the API functions Put, Post, and Delete, as described in the Pyrrho manual.

[1] W3's RDF documentation
[2]W3's OWL documentation
[3 Laiho,M, Laux, F: (2010) Implementing Optimistic Concurrency Control for Persistence Middleware Using Row Version Verification
[5]Amit Kapila, (2015) Well-known Databases Use Different Approaches for MVCC
[6]Steve Howard (2012) SQL Server MVCC with read_committed_snapshot
[7]Oracle Database Concepts: Chapter 13 Data Concurrency and Consistency
[8]The concept of strong validator dates from sec 13 of the HTTP/1.1 definition (Fielding et al 1999)