Versant tools drive object-only Java trading system

[FEBRUARY 1, 2002] -- Although object-to-relational mapping is a common developer's task these days, some development managers have decided that it's still best to stay in the domain of pure objects -- to forgo a relational store. This can be especially true in applications where high performance counts.

Case in point: A financial analysis system built by London-based BITA Plus Consultants. The investment management and securities trading software concern, which counts as clients Salomon Brothers, Acqua Wellington, Quaestor Investment and others, recently turned to Versant Corp. to help create a Java-based portfolio analyzer.

Well-known as an object-oriented database supplier, Versant also bills itself as a middleware maker. A pressing system requirement for the BITA development team was to quickly calculate complex transaction costs and support hedge-fund optimization. The company selected Versant's object database management system, said Simon Tizard, BITA commercial director, because it supported multithreading and multisession capabilities, as well as the direct object-to-object navigation of persistent objects.

Skipping the object-to-relational mapping stage, added Sean Storey, BITA project manager, improved performance and reduced development time. Yes, there is some additional work required to manage the relationships between objects, he indicated. However the saving is greater than the loss. For example, if an object is removed or deleted from the database, all objects referencing it need to be modified accordingly, said Storey.

The advent of EJB application servers has had a significant effect on software development, said Versant's Kas Subhan, general manager of North European operations. "As developers work in EJB and J2EE, they experience the challenge of working with relational database technology in this environment." They must work both with legacy data and provide for the persistence of intermediate data that is part of the transactions. Using an RDB to persist data classes works on a reasonably small project, maintained Subhan, but programming is simplified, he continued, when objects can be treated as objects.

About the Author

Jack Vaughan is former Editor-at-Large at Application Development Trends magazine.