Re: HTTP built on a database engine

Nick Arnett (
Thu, 17 Nov 1994 21:56:41 +0100

At 10:36 AM 11/17/94, Daniel J. Kurys wrote:

>I have to agree with Nick. Last year I developed a gateway to a UniSQL
>database, to which Verity's "Photo Search Demo" bears many similarities.
>A prototype is usually running at:
> <URL:>
>Unfortunately, it lacked a full-text engine and the usefulness of
>such a feature was quickly obvious. (Although several people have
>been interested in buying the capability from us anyway.)
>We are currently developing server technology that integrates database
>and full-text engines for searching indexes of both local and remote
>data. The current design DOES use Sybase. However, it is also cgi-based.
>I would be interested in hearing more discussion of "server dream
>features" that require a non-cgi approach. What did you have in mind?

First, I should clarify that I'm suggesting that a combination of
relational and full-text (inverted index, etc.) models does more than
either one alone can do. They're optimized for quite different performance

I didn't mean to imply that our engine, or anyone else's, can achieve the
kind of field search performance that a relational database does.

One of our guys, Dave Glazer, wrote a paper for the WWW conference, in
which he talks about why we chose to build an integrated server instead of
going the CGI route. It's at

One of our competitors in the Web arena built a server by linking their
search engine to HTTPd via CGI scripts written in Perl. It got them to
market quickly, but I can't imagine that Perl is going to perform or scale
the way that a C coded integrated server will. I'd be a bit nervous about
basing a commercial server on Perl, in any event, just because it's not a
real commercial product itself.

Of course, I'm not assuming that they're not busy re-coding in C.

As far as ideas, we'd love to be able to directly work with the database
files, but that's a hard one to crack. We're more likely to adopt some
sort of brokering approach, where queries are executing in parallel, rather
than passing through gateways.