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RE: [xml-dev] XML Database Decision Tree?

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Ronald Bourret [mailto:rpbourret@rpbourret.com]
> Sent: Monday, October 22, 2001 5:01 AM
> To: Dan Weinreb
> Cc: xml-dev@lists.xml.org
> Subject: Re: [xml-dev] XML Database Decision Tree?

> [XML DBMS people] then get this faraway look in their eyes and hint that,
> their database outperform an RDBMS on certain transactional data, and
> should people decide to use their native XML database as the 
> database of record, well, then, they're not about to dissuade them. 
> A number of the native XML database people I
> have talked to view their database more as middleware -- that is, part
> of the application -- than as the database of record. This is 
> certainly the case in application integration scenarios.

[Getting a faraway look in my eyes ...] Remember, that the "native XML DBMS"
meme has only been in circulation outside a few places (notably Darmstadt,
Germany, the home of both Software AG and GMD-IPSI ) for about two years
now.  Will it end up like the OODBMS meme, subsumed into "post-relational"
DBMS technology?  Or will it end up more like HTTP, which hit the sweet spot
between functionality and simplicity and brought us all to the (virtual)
table we are all sitting around?  The "XML DBMS" idea is not driven by
marketing people any more than OODBMS or HTTP was; like most successful
memes, it's a solution looking for a problem, and so far I've been quite
impressed with the number of problems it latches onto.  Will it survive and
prosper?  Only Father Darwin knows :~)

[speaking ONLY for myself] I see a a couple of possible scenarios.  One, of
course, is that Oracle and MS embrace and extend the idea then bottle up its
originators in specialized niches... sortof what humans did to the rest of
the apes over the last 100,000 years, speaking of Darwin.  Another scenario
is that XML DBMS hit the sweet spot between the full generality/complexity
of the relational model, does to them what PCs did to mainframes or RDBMS
did to IMS, etc., and become the default solution for everyday problems,
even though the previous generation still lurks behind the scenes
everywhere.   XML DBMSs *are* solutions for all sorts of interesting
problems, especially in a world where XML is the "lingua franca" of
electronic commerce. You *can* normalize XML purchase orders that come in
from SOAP, Web pages, etc.  into 20-30 RDBMS tables, with the help of an
army of programmers and DBAs to cope with diversity and evolution... or you
can do this much more simply with an XML DBMS.  I kindof like this scenario
myself, although I think the co-existence with RDBMS will be much more as
equals in mindshare rather than the XML DBMS's being seen as "winnint."
RDBMS will probably remain the databases of record (Thanks for introducing
that term into this discussion, Ron!) for information-centric data that
needs to be viewed in many ways, joined with other data in un-forseeable
ways ... whereas XML DBMS will support the databases of record for
document-centric data that is optimized for limited, human-oriented

Or perhaps we're in the early stages of a "Copernican Revolution" where the
old guard are adding more and more "epicycles and deferents" (e.g. "native
XML SQL types") to the classic model to accomodate new realities, the new
guard have an elegant idea but can't quite nail it down mathematically ...
and sooner or later Newton comes along to tie it all together in one
conceptually simple yet mathematically rigorous package.  Of course, the
RDBMS zealots think that Codd is "Newton" and we simply haven't recognized
that yet ... we shall see!  I personally don't think so; he's more like
Kepler, who got clean results by assuming away the messes his math can't
handle ... like ordering and containment in the case of database theory.
Any nominations for half-crazed geniuses who can solve this problem?