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db functions overview

The state of an individual Muq server is stored in a single .muq which is logically separated into a number of "databases", typically one per user plus one for each major system library or dataset. (These may be thought of as being roughly parallel to the separate disk partitions of a unix file system, with their ability to be independently mounted and unmounted.)

These logical databases may be "exported" as independent host files, which are given the extension .db to distinguish them from the master .muq server state file.

The resulting .db files may then in turn be "imported" back into the master Muq .muq file at a later date, or may be transported to other systems and imported into servers there.

This means that .db files may serve as a universal interchange format within the Muq world: Any combination of code and data, no matter how large or complex, may be this means be passed from one system to another and there accessed without the usual inconveniences of going through an obscuring layer of API access functions: The installed code and data is directly accessable without further ado.

This is a distinct improvement on the typical contemporary arrangement of hundreds of different datafile formats, each of which addresses only a narrow range of datastructures (and typically no code at all), and each of which requires use of a different, clumsy API in order to gain access to the file contents: With luck, this reduced cost of code and data interchange within the Muq world will lead directly to a higher level of cooperative interchange.

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