Intro to NoSQL and JSON





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Published on Jul 5, 2017

I briefly spoke at an IBM Event last week called Fast Track Your Data. There were some great speakers and awesome demos!

Github Db2 Samples: http://bit.ly/DB2-Samples-NodeJS

Db2 Community Edition: http://bit.ly/DB2CommunityEdition

Watch the replay of the Fast Track Your Data Conference: http://bit.ly/IBMFastTrack

There was a continual theme throughout the conference of unlocking your data. What does that mean? Most of the data that flows through an organization is never used to make business decisions. Once that data goes to archives, it aint ever being seen again.

So there was a lot of talk on the term big data. One of keynote speakers, Hillary Mason, explained what big data is. It's getting all your data in one, usable location so you can run queries on it.

My talk was about non-structured data inside of the Db2 Database. I only had so much time, so I thought I would make a video where I actually go in more depth and turn my little demo into a full out tutorial. So let’s do this!

Structured data is based on the relational model of databases. A relation is just a fancy term for a table. So if we draw out a table, we have columns that define the structure of the data. Consider it a blueprint for what an instance of our data is supposed to look like.

What if some lil' punk comes along and tries to put in data that doesn't quite fit this structure? Well...your database is going to get pretty mad. To fix this we need to issue a database ALTER statement. This is going to put a bunch of NULLs in the other rows. ALTERS are basically satan. They are computationally expensive and ruin your other data with NULLs.

So basically, we never want to ALTER our database unless it is an absolute emergency.

So non-structured data comes and saves the day. With non-structured data, we can essentially extend rows without having to change the database structure. That's great for developers because why in the world would we want to waste our precious time updating databases?

JSON is a way to represent non-structured data. The reason I like JSON is because within JSON is a hidden agreement. An agreement between the thing providing the data and the thing using the data. I know that doesn’t make sense so let’s try to make that more concrete.

JSON will often come up when using an API.  An API is basically a way to request data from an application programmatically. So in this situation, the thing providing the data is the application through its API. There is a mutual agreement when it comes to what our data looks like.  We can abstract away the data and all we have to care about is whether or not the data is valid JSON.

We no longer have to look at the data the app is returning, analyze each piece of information, and structure that in a table. Instead, we ask ourselves:  is this data conformed to the JSON requirements?  YES? GREAT?  OH NO it’s not, then this is not valid data.
Inside of JSON we have a bunch of key value pairs. If we were to correlate this to structured data, each key would be the column and the value would be the value for that column.


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