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1. Universal Semantic Databases

Gellish is a family of universally applicable languages. The standardized structure or syntax of Gellish expressions is system independent and universally applicable, thus allowing for the expression of any idea. This implies that Gellish enabled databases or data exchange messages (interfaces) are not application specific and thus they do not require the development of dedicated data models, nor dedicated database designs. This means that Gellish enables defining universal semantic databases and interfaces and enables that software can be reused in other applications. This is due to the Gellish syntax or universal data model and the standardization of the concept definitions and vocabulary.
The Gellish Communicator project on GitHub is an example of such a universal Gellish database system. The uniform data structure or syntax of the expressions is described in the previous section.

2. Limitations of conventional databases

Conventional databases typically consist of many tables, each of which is composed of a number of columns. The definition of those tables and columns determine the storage capabilities of a database, whereas the (implied and explicit) relations between the columns define the kinds of facts that can be stored in such a database. Those columns and relations determine the database structure that defines the expression capabilities of the database. Similar rules apply for the structure of data exchange files and thus for the information that is exchanged in electronic data files and interface messages.
This conventional database technology has some major constraints:

  • When data was not covered during the database design and thus is not included in the data model, then such data cannot be stored in the database nor exchanged via such a data file structure.
  • Different databases have different data structures, which causes that data in one database cannot be integrated with data from other databases nor exchanged between databases without dedicated data conversion.
  • A database modification or extension requires redesign of the database structure, modification of software and data conversion, which makes such modifications a relatively complicated and costly exercise.

Another characteristic of conventional databases is that there are hardy international standards available or used for the content of the databases, being the data that is entered by its users. This typically means that local conventions are applied in order to limit the diversity of data that may be entered in those databases. As local conventions usually differ from other local conventions this has as disadvantage that data that are entered in one database cannot be compared or integrated with data in other databases, even if those database structures are the same and even if the application domain of the databases is the same. For example, within a company there may be various implementations of the same system in various sites for the storage of data about equipment, whereas for example the performance data about the same type of equipment in different systems still cannot be compared with the performance data in other locations, because the equipment types have different names and the properties are also different.

3. Characteristics of Gellish enabled databases

A Gellish database does not have the semantic limitations that conventional databases have, because of the flexibility and openness of the Gellish language and because of its standard universal data structure (syntax), which is simple and computer as well as human interpretable.
A Gellish database consists of a representation of the content of one or more tables in the Gellish Expression Format. For example, the Gellish Communicator software system includes an object-oriented database that is implemented in the form of a network of binary relations 'objects' (in which an 'object' may be anything), whereas each object definition includes all the Gellish Expressions that are applicable for that object. The fact that those Gellish Expression Tables are standardized and universally applicable makes a Gellish database application independent.

The Gellish enabled database is universally applicable because it enables the application of the following fundamental principles:

  1. Explicit classification and specialization relations.
    Explicit classification of individual things or explicit specialization of kinds of things (concepts, classes and types), with an unlimited number of kinds of things in a taxonomic dictionary.
  2. Unlimited extendability, formal and open.
    Gellish enables storing any kind of statement about any kind of thing; because any individual thing can be introduced by specifying an explicit classification relation between the individual thing and a kind, whereas kinds can be selected from an unlimited open dictionary. The dictionary consists of a core of generic concepts. This core can be used in combination with the large Gellish Taxonomic Dictionary (or a subset of that) and can be combined with a proprietary or public extensions and translations. This flexibility is fundamentally different from conventional databases that predefine the object types (classes) about which information can be stored by defining a limited number of entity types and attribute types in a fixed data model.
  3. Unlimited semantic expression capability.
    The semantic expression capability is provided by explicit classification of relations (expressions of ideas) by an extensible unlimited number of standardized relation types.
  4. Powerful standard Gellish set of contextual facts.
    Gellish enables storing any kind of idea about any kind of object, because any idea can be expressed by one or more binary relations, whereas those relations are explicitly classified by relation types that can be selected from the standardized collection of relation types that are defined in the Gellish Taxonomic Dictionary or by relation types that are added to the dictionary as proprietary extensions. This flexibility is also fundamentally different from conventional databases that predefine a fixed and limited number of kinds of relations between the columns in the database tables (whereas unfortunately those kinds of relations are usually defined only in an implicit way).

As a consequence, Gellish enabled databases do not need to be modified or extended when the scope of an application changes. And expressions from different Gellish enabled databases can be merged and integrated whenever required, without a need for a conversion exercise. Furthermore the content of Gellish enabled databases is standardized by using a common Taxonomic Dictionary for all its data, including for example, kinds of equipment, kinds of properties, kinds of documents, kinds of activities, etc., etc.

Continue with 1. Domain Dictionaries and Dictionary Extensions


gellish_databases.txt · Last modified: 2018/10/31 16:27 by andries