If XML attributes are the syntactic sugars for leaf XML elements, then entity attributes are those for one-to-one relationships. While syntactic sugars are great time savers, they confuse many beginners. Am I supposed to apply sugar in this or that use case? That’s the question. This is why a Lisp program is simply a nested list, no more and no less. In fact, Lisp even represents loops with tail recursions alone, such that the readers of a Lisp program do not have to worry about many different notations that actually express the same semantic. For the same reason, RISC is considered a superior processor architecture compared to CISC. Simplicity sells.
Tuples, usually stored as arrays in memory, are obviously more rigid than linked lists, whose edges represent one-to-one relationships between two connected nodes. As directed graphs, or simply object graphs, easily express one-to-one, many-to-one and many-to-many relationships, arrays seem to be syntactic sugars in the eyes of processors. Unfortunately, sugars are not user-friendly, as they easily confuse beginners new to the field. Sugars are meant to be advanced UI elements, activated only when power users need them for efficiency and productivity, preferably with a right-click.
Why are relational models too rigid for businesses that deal with ever-changing markets? Well, tuples, or actually worse, rows, are not treated as syntactic sugars but as primitives in SQL, which even require the presence of schemas that describe them. A proper design of a graph database treats a relational database as a special case of a general solution. Transactionally, node-level locks work better than row-level locks. Extensibility and flexibility are built into a graph database by enabling the manipulation of data definitions directly in data contents, hence eliminating the need to predefine data. In fact, all data models that require fortune-telling to function properly are flawed by design. Don’t forget, however, that whenever you are so sure about your future, tuples, or even rows, as syntactic sugars are still here with you to take advantage of your clairvoyance. Let me put it this way. When we have decided to move on to the world of real numbers, integers are still here with us when all you need is basic arithmetic.
In fact, sugar is not exactly bad for kids. It is bad only when you give it to them as food. Nevertheless, sugar is still bad for infants.