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The Future of Databases: Structured Flexibility and Freedom to Evolve

We recently hosted an insightful and engaging discussion on our Multiply podcast with Malcolm Sparks, a seasoned database engineer and pioneer. Throughout the conversation, we dove deep into the challenges and opportunities that surround databases today. We wanted to bring you a few key insights from this episode, revealing how we at Multiply are using the breakthrough features of XTDB in our product to ensure better service for our clients.

Breaking Free from the Constraints

Traditionally, databases force a particular structure upon you from the get-go, with no room for change. If any modifications are needed, data migrations are required, a process often fraught with difficulties and risks. This rigid nature of databases has created significant problems in an era of rapid data evolution. As Malcolm eloquently explained:

"Deciding the things that are going to travel together for all time is quite a brutal constraint when you're doing information engineering. I think what we are trapped in is this too rigid notion of information design which doesn't allow us to make mistakes and change our mind. That is the real straightjacket and that's why our information systems I think are very poor."

XTDB: The Power to Evolve

The core philosophy behind XTDB is the freedom of documents, structure, and schema to evolve. Unlike traditional systems that couple structure with the code, XTDB allows code and form to be independent, decoupled, and free to evolve independently. Malcolm painted a vivid picture of this feature:

"You should be able to be free to put documents and then evolve and realize through recognizing patterns later on. You're not having to decide on a structure and then be stuck with it forever. It evolves at the same cadence as human understanding and that's what we want our tools to do. They need to support our ability to evolve our understanding, our ability to make mistakes, and to refine and to change our minds sometimes."

Bi-Directional Links: Adding a New Dimension

Apart from being a document database, XTDB also functions as a graph database. A unique feature of XTDB is the bi-directionality of links. While most links on the web today are unidirectional, XTDB links are two-way, offering a more interconnected approach to data, where every individual node in the graph is free to form whatever relationships it likes.

In an ever-evolving digital landscape, databases are no longer just data repositories; they need to be dynamic, adaptable, and resilient. At Multiply, we're leveraging XTDB's unique capabilities to build our product more efficiently and deliver greater value to our clients.

To learn more about our journey and our use of groundbreaking tools like XTDB, tune in to our Multiply podcast. Our chat with Malcolm Sparks is just a glimpse of the engaging and enlightening discussions we're having with industry leaders and innovators. Stay tuned for more!

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