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Re: Against the Grain: Pascal commentary about XML and databases

I know next to nothing about relational calculus.
What I do know is that I tried to use 
"native" XML storage products in non-trivial
ways and they failed.  Storing a document
is one thing.  E.g., thousands of XHTML pages.
That's trivial.  It's just a filesystem with
some extra features.  Storing a database of customers
and orders isn't.  The relational model allows
data to be viewed in almost as many ways
as is needed.  XML is a 
single-view paradigm that requires non-trivial
technology to transform data.  By "non-trivial"
I mean it takes excessive amounts of CPU 
and memory.

I get emails from sales people all the time
trying to convince me otherwise, so
I understand Pascal's lack of tact.  In
most cases these emails come from 
those who have never stored
10 megs in a database and then have
a user say "gee could you roll
up the sales by category and month?"

There are a lot of suckers out there,
and not having to worry about
database design issues is 
certainly appealing.  Native XML
databases are the new snake oil.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: <Mike.Champion@SoftwareAG-USA.com>
To: <xml-dev@lists.xml.org>
Sent: Thursday, June 28, 2001 2:44 PM
Subject: RE: Against the Grain: Pascal commentary about XML and databases

Someone tried to bring the
existence of an XML database product to his attention, and got the response
"This is a nonsensical statement. I wish there was a more delicate way to
respond to this, but unfortunately the only thing I can say is that you
really don't understand data fundamentals and you missed the point of my
article. People without a decent understanding of data fundamentals should
not be in the database business."

I keep hoping that there is some middle ground where the rigorous
mathematics of the relational model and the pragmatic usability of XML can
meet and inform one another.  In private correspondence, Mr. Pascal assured
me that a truly mathematical model of XML is impossible, but I'm keeping an
open mind.