Version management in an object-oriented database

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Abstract

We describe a database system that includes a built-in version control mechanism that can be used in the definition of any new object types. This database system is object-oriented in the sense that it supports data abstraction, object types, and inheritance.

We show how this version control mechanism can be used to manage change in the definition of a system. In particular, we show how versions of type defining objects serve to maintain consistent behavior of objects as the system evolves over time. We also show how the system can use other information such as the component-of relationship to propagate changes to the appropriate places.

The version mechanism is also used to control consistency during the process of design. The notions of consistency surface, design step, and slice are introduced. The version mechanism also gives us a way of potentially tolerating more concurrency than in conventional systems.