August 10, 2016

Open Source Tool ‘Rethinks’ Databases

George Leopold

An open source tool for writing queries and modeling data designed for use with the RethinkDB query language is being positioned as an alternative to developing applications using the ReQL query language.

Compose, a provider of hosted databases founded in 2010, acquired by IBM (NYSE: IBM) last year and incorporated into its Cloud Data Services unit, is pitching the ReQL alternative dubbed “Thinky.” The tool is described as an open source object relational mapper (ORM) designed for RethinkDB. IBM is offering RethinkDB and a batch of other hosted database services through its Compose Enterprise platform.

The San Francisco-based company said Thinky would look familiar to developers who have previously used Mongoose, the object document mapper (ODM) for MongoDB. The creation of queries as well as field names and validations is said to be similar, according to a recent blog post by Abdullah Alger, a content creator at Compose.

“Thinky and Mongoose work on similar principles, which is to provide [developers] with an efficient and object-oriented way to model data. The difference between the two is that an ODM like Mongoose concerns itself with the structure of data within documents or tables, while an ORM like Thinky goes further by modeling the relationships between them,” Alger said.

Thinky also is described as a “lightweight Node.js ORM” that uses an alternative version of RethinkDB’s Node.js driver. The IBM unit also touts Thinky features such as four predefined relation methods that can be used to create relations between data models. The four relation methods are intended to help developers write all ReQL commands by leveraging RethinkDB’s “joins” capabilities operating in the background.

While lacking all the capabilities that Mongoose provides for MongoDB, Alger noted that Compose is “actively adding new features in order to increase its functionality and usability.” He added that Thinky “provides…. a few shortcuts to create tables and relations between them, which reduces the amount of code [developers] have to write if [they] decided to only use ReQL.”

The new open source tool for modeling data is part of a larger IBM effort unveiled earlier this year that includes a batch of new cloud-based data services that bolsters its hosted Apache Spark business with NoSQL, graph, and machine learning capabilities.

Compose CEO Kurt Mackey, told Datanami last year that developers are driving database proliferation by the development choices they make. “Today you’ll see applications that use three or four different databases, just depending on the features they need to deliver to a customer,” Mackey said.

Along with MongoDB and and RethinkDB, Compose Enterprise also supports the following databases: PostgreSQL, Elasticsearch and Redis along with beta versions of etcd and RabbitMQ. Compose Enterprise hosted databases run on Amazon Web Services (NASDAQ: AMZN), IBM’s SoftLayer cloud infrastructure and DigitalOcean’s public cloud service.

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