Technology Tutorial for Beginners

Please read carefully through this tutorial before beginning the Tiny AngelBase Demo.

What is the point of this tutorial?

To give you essential background knowledge needed to understand the Demo.

What do I need to do during the Demo?

You just need to carefully follow the step-by-step instructions. And you need to be patient by suspending any desire you might feel for "instant gratification" or to "click immediately."

Does the Demo show me all the features of AngelBase?

NO. Not at all. It only shows a small fraction of the power of AngelBase. Also, it's only a prototype.

What do you mean that it's a prototype?

It's just basically a "slide show." It's not real software. Consequently, it may perform slowly. The real AngelBase software does not yet exist. But when it does, it is anticipated to perform extremely fast.

What does the Demo illustrate?

The Demo shows a small database application system developed in AngelBase.

What are database application systems?

Database application systems (DASs) are the software backbones of business and industry. They are the systems on which bank tellers do transactions, buyers create purchase orders, engineers design aircraft parts, advertisers print mailing lists, stock brokers order trades and hospital nurses update patient records. DASs can be small, for a single computer--such as the popular home accounting program, QuickenTM --or they can be globally distributed systems such as the SABRETM airline reservation system.

On the Internet, electronic commerce (e-commerce) is growing at an unbelievable rate. Every Internet web site that supports any e-commerce contains a DAS which controls the e-commerce data.

Each DAS contains a database platform, the "underlying technology" from which the DAS is created. While there are tens of thousands of different kinds of DASs, there are currently only four kinds of database platforms. The entire $89 billion database market is based upon these four technologies. None of them is patented.

What is AngelBase?

AngelBase is a new database platform, which is far more powerful than the other four combined. AngelBase holds the potential, over a period of years, to redefine and replace much of the gigantic database market. And unlike the other four, AngelBase is patented.

What makes AngelBase so much better?

Many factors. But the most important factor involves meta-data.

What is meta-data?

There are two kinds of data in AngelBase:

  • user-data
  • meta-data
It is crucial that you learn to tell the difference between meta-data and user-data in AngelBase.

Let's look at a simple example of some data:

"John Doe"[name]
"4-May-1947"[date of birth]
"10-June-1970"[date of marriage]
[date of birth must be before date of marriage]

The data in the left column in quotation marks is user-data. It is ordinary data. The ultimate purpose of any database application system (DAS) is to view and manage user-data. Worldwide, workers spend hundreds of millions of hours every business day viewing and managing user-data in DASs.

The data in the right column in brackets is meta-data, or "data beyond data." In AngelBase, the meta-data defines the framework within which the user-data exists, just as the playwright, director and set designer in a play, who might be called "meta-actors," provide the framework for the actors.

Why is meta-data so important?

Because it determines how the computer works!! When people learn to understand and manipulate the meta-data in AngelBase, then they are actually changing the way their DAS functions. Existing database technologies do not give users any access to meta-data.

What does the meta-data look like in AngelBase?

In AngelBase, the meta-data is organized in a sophisticated metaphor. The Tiny AngelBase Demo uses 12 kinds of meta-data and 2 kinds of user-data. We will first show you the terms and symbols, then we will show how they are organized, and finally we will explain what they mean.

Seven of the twelve kinds of meta-data used in the Tiny AngelBase Demo can be identified by symbols (icons):

The other five kinds of meta-data can be identified by colored regions:

What about the 2 kinds of user-data?

The 2 kinds of user-data used in the Tiny AngelBase Demo are:

  • record
  • datum
There are no special symbols for them. User-data always appears in a white or gray area.

What do all these things mean?

Good question. Before answering it, we must first show you how the different kinds of meta-data are organized.

In AngelBase, everything starts with the data village.

Inside the data village are houses:

Inside each house are rooms:

AngelBase has nine different kinds of rooms, each with different data organization powers.

What are the different kinds of rooms?

I'll tell you because it is fun, but then you can just forget about it. This Tiny AngelBase Demo does not demonstrate the powers of the different kinds of rooms.

The kinds of rooms are: living room, bedroom, family room, meeting room, nursery, kitchen, dining room, entry and closet.

Inside each room (regardless of what type) are tables:

Inside each table are fields:

The word "table" has an interesting position in the AngelBase metaphor. We can think of a table as a piece of furniture in a room. We can also think of a table as a set of rows and columns, where the columns are commonly called "fields." The AngelBase metaphor takes advantage of this double meaning.

What about the 7 symbols we saw?

Here's where most of them come in. Inside each room, in addition to tables, there are doorways, paintings, catalogs and lamps.

Where are the angels? After all, this is "AngelBase."

Angels can be almost anywhere. Let's put it all together into a data village diagram.

This data village has only one house. Also, a cable (the red line) connects one table to another table. As you can see, there are plenty of angels.

Where is the user-data?

Data village diagrams are 100% meta-data. They never show any user-data. The user-data is hidden. Remember, there are 2 kinds of user-data used in the Tiny AngelBase Demo: records and datums.

  • The records are hidden in the rooms.
  • The datums are hidden in the fields.
How can we see the user-data hidden in a room and its fields?

Very important question. Here is the very important answer.

The user-data hidden in a room and in its fields is revealed by clicking on a doorway in the room. You will do this during the Tiny AngelBase Demo. Doorways are the only way to view and edit user-data. In fact, that is the entire purpose of doorways.

So, is a doorway a kind of a "view port" into the room's user-data?


Now I understand doorways. What do the other symbols mean?

Each painting defines a particular layout of a room's user-data on the screen. It shows how the user-data is "painted" on the screen. Paintings hang on the wall in a room. A room can have any number of paintings, each representing a different way of displaying the room's user-data.

Each catalog defines a particular ordering of the records in a room. Remember that the pages in a catalog go in a particular order. The catalogs sit on a bookshelf in the room. A room can have any number of catalogs in its bookshelf, each representing a different ordering of the room's records.

Each lamp defines a particular selection (i.e. subset) of the records in a room that are going to be lit up. A special lamp (called the flood light) lights up all the records in the room. A room can have any number of lamps, each representing a different selection of the room's records.

Each angel defines a rule governing user-data. Angels are the protectors of the user-data in AngelBase. There are many kinds of angels in AngelBase, including guardian angels, cherubs, seraphs, angels of light, angels of order, angels of art, family angels, push button angels and winged messengers. In the Tiny AngelBase Demo you will see several (but not all) of these kinds of angels. They all have the same yellow angel symbol.

Each cable defines connections between the records in one table and the records in another table. The individual record connections are made by wires that run inside the cables.

What does the meta-data look like in the four existing non-patented database technologies?

It doesn't!!

Existing systems don't display meta-data (except for field names).

Meta-data contains the key to how the system works. But existing database technologies allow users to view and change only user-data, leaving meta-data inaccessible. The only people who can change the way existing systems actually work are programmers.

In AngelBase, users can view and change both user-data and meta-data. People learn to manipulate user-data within the context of the meta-data that governs it. Then they can add new meta-data or change existing meta-data. This gives users the enormous power to change and evolve the way the system functions. Ordinary people are thus able to create their own sophisticated database systems. In corporate environments, employees can change and evolve the way business systems work to better support their job functions. Safety to business policy is assured by a system of "authorizations" which only allow key personnel to change critical meta-data.

What kind of a database will I see in the Tiny AngelBase Demo?

The Tiny AngelBase Demo involves a stand-up comedienne who sets up small gigs around town. The database keeps track of her performances and ticket sales.

When can I start the demo?

In just a moment. The demo consists of two windows, the second of which will pop up from clicking in the first window. These windows are split into two parts, with AngelBase on the right and with Explanations and Instructions on the left. Be sure to scroll down, read and carefully follow all of the step-by-step instructions.

You must have pop-ups enabled in your browser to run the demo. It was created before the craze of pop-up abuse.

Please feel free to adjust the size of the windows and move the windows around as needed. If you have a low resolution monitor, you might not be able to fit everything at once into your windows, which will force you to do some sideways scrolling.

Have fun!!

Begin Tiny AngelBase Demo.

Quicken is a trademark of Intuit, Inc.
SABRE is a trademark of American Airlines.