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RE: [xml-dev] Caught napping!
>- Your CFO doesn't care about the mathematical foundations of your database
>design, only whether it gets the job done.
Right. And your CTO (if s/he has been around long enough and understands
human nature) knows that the database contains things like:
Name: Sean McGrath
Notes: Last contacted 1/1/2001. Joe from Sales I think - ask
N.B. Contact before 2002 for upgrade. See foo.doc
Over time, much good stuff migrates into free format areas such
as notes fields in RDBs. Why? Because RDBs just don't cater for
semi-structured evolution. Ever ask a DBA to add a field to a
table?. If not, bring a helmet and ear-plugs when you do.
RDBs don't evolve well. The mathematical elegance of RDB is lost
in a crazy world of economic cycles and messy, experimental
business models that rewards adaptability over mathematical
Evolution is the natural state of all systems. XML is easier to
evolve. Less "optimal", less beautiful but easier to evolve. I
know which one Darwin would put money on.
I have worked in many organizations with "bright shiny
RDBs. Invariably, although
the database plays an important role, the *real* knowledge is not predicate
assertions in Oracle but hunches and bitter experience and initiative and
half-remembered, half-imagined facts. In short the real knowledge
in any organisation is in peoples heads. If you are lucky, your people
will write down stuff in faxes, word docs and notes scribbled into the margins
of your beautifully elegant but woefully unsuitable for your business,
relational database record structure.
Does XML solve this problem? No. But it might be a better source
of fundamental compounds from which to craft a solution to
All we know for sure is that RDB does not solve
the problem. All the word docs and faxes and scribbled
marginalia in all the filing cabinets in all the world
attest to that fact.