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Python Programming On Win32 by Mark Hammond, Andy Robinson

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A Note on Speed

With database systems, performance is always important. A badly designed client/server system can cost a great deal of money and have a shorter life than planned if attention is not paid to the way client applications interact with the server. Even with PC-based systems such as Access, database applications can often become slow, especially when multiple dynamic views of the data are used. Having discussed a wide range of data-access techniques, we now include some rough performance benchmarks. These are intended to show only the rough characteristics of different data-access APIs.

The standard task covered is to insert 1,000 rows into a simple table. The sample table, named analysis, can be thought of as a crude repository for financial data; it has four fields, tranid (integer), trandate (date), account (string) and amount (currency). To slow it down a bit, it’s indexed uniquely on tranid and indexed with duplicates allowed on trandate and account. Thus any insertion involves updating three indexes. We created instances of this database in our sample Access database and in Sybase SQL Anywhere. It starts off empty. The tests were run on a Pentium 266, with client and server on the same machine and no other activity taking place. The source code for the test is in the module fastinsert.py at http://starship.python.net/crew/mhammond/ppw32/.

We first used mxODBC to connect to both the Access and Sybase databases and tried three different techniques, which are ...

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