Wednesday, July 10, 2013

MetaModel – Providing Uniform Data Access Across Various Data Stores

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Recently, Human Inference and the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) announced the donation and acceptance into incubation of the MetaModel project. Previously, MetaModel had been available under the LGPL license, and governed by Human Inference’s product development, but is now being moved to the ASF, getting a new license, community and governance. So what is this project all about, and what is it useful for?

MetaModel is a Java library which aims to provide a single interface for interacting with any data store; be it a relational database, a NoSQL database, a spreadsheet file or another file format. By interacting we mean exploring metadata, querying and writing/changing the data contained in the store. Certainly any abstraction like this will leave out details and thereby there’s a risk of over-generalizing and loosing important features. You would not want the functionality of your relational SQL database reduced to only full table scan (SELECT * FROM [table]) like queries. On the other hand you would also not want to expose functionality that is unlikely to work on any other data stores than just your specific SQL server brand and version. Lastly, you would want to build upon existing common skills for interacting with data, such as SQL.

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