How Do We Call It?
Different areas of the software industry came up with different names for extensibility. Informix (Illustra actually) came up with the term DataBlade Module. We could use a variation on other extensibility terms: plug-ins, servlets, extensions, and so on. To understand the term DataBlade or any other term that could be used to describe extended capabilities, let's look at what a Data-Blade is.
A DataBlade is a grouping of functionality that is used to solve a particular problem domain or subdomain. It can include user-defined types (UDTs), user-defined routines (UDRs), user-defined aggregates (UDAs), and even tables and stored-procedures. When packaging a DataBlade, you can also include a client component. Some DataBlades also include additional support processes.
Looking at it this way, we see that a DataBlade is a well-defined set of functionality. This can be favorably compared to the idea of components. A DataBlade is a business component or a grouping of components.
The components described in this book address relatively small problem domains. They are a set of building blocks that are used to build larger business solutions. Informix introduced the term Bladelet to describe these building block components. Throughout this book we use the terms Bladelet, business component, and component interchangeably.
Database extensibility can provide significant benefits such as better performance and faster time to market. Let's look at what features object-relational technology, or more precisely Informix Dynamic Server (IDS) 9.x, provides.