Thinking about life, before computing technologies became so pervasive in life….
Businesses and corporations worked upon systems of trust of individuals far more, than is evident today. Before computing systems, rooms of people worked on writing and reviewing documentation, and in-house librarians cataloged information for organisations in a manner that could be resourced locally. Individuals communicated by letter, which took sometime to author (with relevant information or references) and obtain responses. Communications systems developed over the last 50 years, have dramatically changed the way in which we work, consume and participate in society as citizens.
The act of manufacture, trade and citizenship were governed by individuals and groups who had inherent knowledge in their heads, about a particular topic for which they could discharge their duties, responsibilities and authority upon any particular ‘puzzle’. Individuals with far less oversight, still expected to provide an accountable direction, as a duty bound agent for incorporated entities. Oversight of decisions was far more cumbersome yet it was simply not possible to centralise authority in anyway representative of todays society, through the use of internet, relational databases and interface technologies.
The role of the relational database as a scientifically defined product is often overlooked in how, such technology, has been applied in different ways, in different industries and specialisations beyond or outside of the realm, of digital data-storage specifically.
The functional characteristic of relational database technology, pervasively influenced the ‘business rules’ used by technology companies, evolving around the functional or scientific qualities presented by their technology of trade, and its reliance upon relational database technology. Arguably, a driver of sense, which has become socio-cultural manifestation of technology use. Much like the way society changes through the use of plastics, or oil-based fuels, the ramification of the often forgotten about relational database, have had a remarkable effect.
The driver of function for systems, facilitating economics for entities, funds that supported the workers and their families; organisationally these systems were used to ‘optimise workflows’, ‘structure operations’. Throughout the period, global corporations developed. Casualisation of the workforce ensued. Changes to labour markets, from life-long professions to short-term roles, and the needs of workers, health of people, psychology and an array of other ‘intangible traits’ may arguably be considered sacrificed to the needs of the system; which though the application of relational database technology, needs a central, hierarchical, system of internal language, roles, functions and processes, all with reporting lines that feed up towards the ‘user-interface’ with an easily understood outcome. Whether the report says ‘ok’, ‘pass’, ‘fail’ or something more sophisticated these systems were born through the works of teams, using relational database technology to define rules, program documents and convey those needs into a means that the system can compute. A means that is all-inclusive, not enabled at ‘web-scale’. If it is not incorporated, it does not compute, and those that best know have sufficient contributors as to ensure their system maximises the total amount of possible functions, within any given (internal) system.
Where command structures failed to attend to the pro-grammatical defined sequences, an opportunity was not identified; alternative ‘dictionaries’ simply not available. In-turn mirroring these computer-science qualities, in the way organisations designed to support technology was also modelled. Whether it was the design of the computer that became the key decision maker, or the designer of the organisation, is perhaps a philosophically challenged yet academic discussion.
With the advent of Internet, application design has become an area of knowledge systems developed, in concert with the evolution of computing systems. As Internet Protocol, and the World Wide Web (or Hyper Text Transfer Protocol – or HTTP) started to emerge, the world considered different ways in which to develop this platform. It was viable to build applications or software in a manner that may have been available on internet – but was principally designed to work on a specific system, whether that system lived in a data centre, computer room, workstation of mobile device.
In the late 1990’s, many early adopters, the early innovators of HTTP technologies started to consider how to decentralise internet application development and systems. Whilst the first web-browser could author, edit and view webpages – A function that was soon lost, for many years, and whilst some considered how this might be done in a way that they claimed to own as a proprietary invention; others grew works surrounding methodologies of how to deliver these forms and functions, through standards.
A language was openly developed that was designed to be understood across the internet. A language that allowed users to define dictionaries, usable by other internet accessible systems, so long as the address of the dictionary, for that language, was included in the same document that is written to do something in association to that dictionary, the ability for a multitude of documents written or ‘linked’ to common dictionary definitions, could be understood collectively by a user, who in-turn could diminish their reliance upon relational databases, and take-up a new option of using a system that resourced knowledge from an array of different contributors, different internet locations as to collectively provide the resource requested. The embodiment of emergence, for ‘Graph Database technology’, was then established. A technology that can replace relational database technology; systems that offer much greater flexibility, accessibility and discovery of terms and concepts too sophisticated for traditional relational database applications. Graph Database technology brought about an opportunity for developers to not only write applications that had a system for storing information in a way that their own application understood, but also in a way that other machines, other applications on the internet could understand. In this way, a developers system could not simply resource more information from the internet for facets of knowledge they were unable to include as an ‘island’ or ‘silo’, but also, these systems could ‘seek’ information from the web to improve functionality and opportunity for the users of their systems. In the late 90’s, these theories significantly changed opportunities, theoretically, in how applications could be designed ‘for internet’.
Without the linguistic capabilities provided by Graph Database Technologies, it was simply impossible – in the vast majority of circumstances – to deliver a system that was capable of being reliable, whilst servicing broader needs of communities and societies, that was functionally incompatible with Relational Database Technology.
The Concept of Graph Database technology has been evolving for almost 20 years. Over that time, through a relatively small group of contributors, languages, services and platforms have been developed that make the reality of building technology using Graph Database technology – Viable for almost any web-developer.
The implications of Graph Database Technology, have also brought about an introduction to the concept of Philosophy for Internet. Internet and Computing technology is an appendage to our lives, yet through the evolution of computing systems – in the primitive years of its technical function and implementation, the philosophy of how technology should be applied has not been an an ingredient of specialisation for those involved in defining the technical capabilities of a system.
Through the introduction of Graph DB’s, it is believed this will change. The era and meaning of a decentralised web is ‘linked’ to the concept of a graph database, the form, function and opportunity provided by available dictionaries, by facets of pro grammatical code that others are able to incorporate into their application eco-systems and the means in which such systems provide dignity and opportunity to others. The capacity to resource ‘knowledge’ is far less centralised.
Yet still, far too few understand what, how and where Graph Database Technology can support a user as a tool that is ‘fit for purpose’, and within scope of functional specification for a design of which they seek to create. Arguably, this is not simply a technical problem, but also one of philosophy. The internet has created a global system of ‘compliance’ through the use of relational database technologies. In-order to change these systems, the first step may be awareness of the situation and that alternative technologies are available, providing functions that many may consider to be from the realms of ‘science fiction’….