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iConceptStore SQL-Link Edition


The relational database technology tends to model real world entities in groups rather than individually. The particular anonymous instances of any such group are uniformly described in terms of the same set of common primitive attributes, used as a basis for that grouping in the first place. In contrast, the iConceptStore underlying paradigm provides for unrestricted modelling of interlinked individual objects and their classes in terms of their unique inherent characteristics, whether primitive or arbitrarily complex (attributes, relations, links, functions and operations are concepts themselves) without any necessity to artificially put together incomparables. Integrating the conventional relational database technology within the iConceptStore wider modelling framework allows developers to adapt to the specific requirements of the particular scenario at hand by dynamically adopting some kind of mixed modelling working paradigm. Instead of remaining incompatible worlds apart, within the iConceptStore framework these modelling alternatives are reconciled and intertwined to the extent of complementing each other thus enriching each otherís capabilities.


Both modelling paradigms gain from this unusual marriage. The iConceptStore SQL-Link Edition provides close and completely transparent integration (at the levels of both programming interfaces and CML) of the conventional relational database management technology as means of efficiently maintaining on secondary storage large sets of uniform anonymous entity attribute variations as database tables. Conversely, coupled with the opposite underlying modelling paradigm and associated capabilities of iConceptStore, each database table is virtually embedded into a conceptual shell. As a result, its semantic links and roles can be explicitly described and independently stored rather than only assumed and hard coded into application programs. This kind of meaningful context also allows embedded database tables to serve as value domains of different data derivation and problem-solving mechanisms. Hence, the iConceptStore SQL-Link Edition provides the best of both worlds. The integration is done in such a flexible way that without having any artificially imposed compromise between those distinct paradigms, developers can freely "float" between the two extremes as appropriate under the particular modelling scenario.


Currently, all editions of the MS SQL Server 2000 and MS SQL Server 2005/2008/2012/2014/2017 are supported, including their free entry-level editions MSDE 2000 and SQL Server Express, respectively. An easy-to-use iConceptStore Utility for MSDE Database Administration provides a minimal database administration capabilities to overcome the lack of any interactive means of making use of the otherwise excellent MSDE 2000 as a general-purpose database management tool - Microsoft does not bundle the SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Manager with MSDE 2000.


Note that the MS SQL Server, treated strictly as an external supplement to iConceptStore, is only transparently used to optionally store regular parametric variations of user-defined entity properties in the form of conventional table-formatted datasets of primitive data types. Some use of SQL itself is allowed but no longer required within the iConceptStoreís wider model/knowledge management paradigm. However, if necessary, unrestricted use of SQL and related techniques is still possible through parallel direct SQL Server links to those same (or any other) datasets by means of any external interactive and/or programmatic interfaces (even from within iConceptStore client programs or extensions, using the same ODBC data source configured).


The EntityNet Service for MS Excel Add-in is also included with this edition to provide direct access to most of the iConceptStore sophisticated conceptual modelling capabilities from within Excel based application domain models (e.g., for the purposes of what-if analysis). This mixed-paradigm modelling is enabled by means of embedded dynamic spreadsheet links to arbitrarily complex conceptual model fragments, contained within iConceptStore modelbases, in turns possibly referencing SQL Server database tables as entity attribute variations. In order to keep selected (active) spreadsheet cells and those external model fragments synchronized, any spreadsheet cell value change can be immediately automatically propagated to its corresponding entity attribute in the respective conceptual model fragment. Conversely, dynamic feedback advise channels between Excel and EntityNet can be turned on (and off) at run-time to provide timely updates to dependant attributes, embedded in active spreadsheet cells, whenever values of their conceptual model dependencies (possibly themselves depending on some other attribute or spreadsheet cell values) change.


All the relevant documentation is provided as well.


The EntityNet service/server and client programs (Information Browser/VS/Excel instances, custom applications, etc.) are required to run on the same computer though information bases may reside in shared folders on different machines. Instances of SQL Server 2000/2005/2008/2012/2014/2017, configured as external data sources to iConceptStore, may run on the local or any remote computer.



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