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migrating to tables in version 8

Published 2020-04-09T11:51:00.001Z by Physics Derivation Graph

Currently the Physics Derivation Graph is "version 7: pkl and web interface". While v7 started as a Python Pickle data file, it then moved to JSON, and is now a JSON file stored as a string in Redis.

While I could rewrite the "JSON as string in Redis" into a proper Redis-based interface, my plan is to rewrite the code to support an SQLite3 backend. This would mean rewriting all the functions to use tables rather than nested dictionaries and lists.

While the in-memory data of Redis sounds attractive for low-latency, the downside is that the Redis server needs to be running in order to query the content. An SQLite3 database is available offline.

Three issues have held me back from implementing the database as tables. Two of the issues are about translating the nested dictionaries and lists to tables. I want the translation to be to a schema design that is compact (not too many tables) and tidy (no element should contain lists).

Issue: a symbol can be a constant or a variable, for constants there may be multiple values. Should this be one table with multiple rows per value for constants, or a table of symbols + a table for values?
The multiple tables is a better schema but not as intuitive for users.
Resolution: The HTML table displayed in the web interface doesn't have to be the same as the backend schema. I will use a single table for the web frontend and multiple tables in SQLite3.

Issue: the derivation table columns could be
['step id', 'inference rule', 'input expr1', 'input expr 2', 'input expr 3', 'feed 1', 'feed 2', 'feed 3', 'output expr 1', 'output expr 2', 'output expr 3']
which is one row per step and not tidy
['step id', 'in connection type', 'in id', 'out connection type', 'out id']
which has multiple rows per step and is tidy.
Resolution: use the tidy table schema and write a converter to the dictionary with lists?

Issue: I'm not comfortable with SQL
Resolution: learn SQL.