Archive for June 12th, 2008

What is Database Connectivity for JavaScript?

IBM® Database Connectivity for JavaScript™ is middleware that enables Web clients to directly access server-side relational data without compromising enterprise security.

"Directly access" without compromising "enterprise security", yeah...

On the client, IBM Database Connectivity for JavaScript consists of a JavaScript API and library that can be used by Web applications without special browser plug-ins. On the server, the IBM Database Connectivity for JavaScript gateway, written in PHP, is an adaptor layer that mediates between IBM Database Connectivity for JavaScript and relational databases and provides functions such as operation forwarding and security. Web 2.0 applications can thus use IBM Database Connectivity for JavaScript to access relational data as a first-class construct instead of through ad hoc protocols.

Before you start wondering (like I did) what "operation forwarding" and "security" mean in this context, I'll tell you since I bothered to read the source code: it's just a thin layer with a JDBC-like API which allows JavaScript code to compose and submit SQL statements from the client side!
Security, if any, needs to be enforced at the database level, and access credentials are sent from the client side as well.

IBM Database Connectivity for JavaScript supports the trend for Web applications to be dynamically composed in a Web browser -- so-called "Web 2.0" applications -- instead of being completely composed on the server ("Web 1.0").

First "enterprise", now "Web 2.0"...

IBM Database Connectivity for JavaScript is specifically geared toward enabling the potential Web 2.0 benefits of increased application responsiveness and the ability to flexibly combine information from various sources on the client. Web 2.0 access to server-side data, however, is currently characterized by Representational State Transfer (REST)-like APIs, which are typically application specific.

Bah, those old-fashioned resource mappings which (try to) expose only the data subsets relevant to the application front-end...
But now we can unleash the full power of SQL: free queries to all our databases for everyone in the fantastic world of Web 2.0!

ODBC is powerful -- allowing any SQL statement to be executed -- and simple, in the sense that developers are required to understand only a few abstractions. IBM Database Connectivity for JavaScript can be thought of as an "ODBC for Web clients," enabling Web developers to benefit from a general-purpose API for accessing relational data.

Great work IBM! Now please convince some of your many banking customers to deploy this fantastic technology on their Internet-facing web servers, and we'll be happy to "benefit from a general purpose API for accessing relational data" directly from Firebug, thanks!

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