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Re: [xml-dev] Updating XML

On Tue, 13 Nov 2001, PaulT wrote:

> XPath is terse, XUpdate is not. I'm wondering, may there
> is any terse alternative to XUpdate? To write those update
> queries by hand... To me it looks funny that one can use
> 100% pure terse XPath to write a readable query for
> 'select', but one should  write a verbose XML-ish
> spell to make 'update'.
> I don't understansd why XML should be soo different
> from SQL in this aspect.

I suspect that more logic is exposed at the insertion layer in most XML
apps than in most SQL apps - they are just exposing the complexity that is
_hidden_ in program code in the typical SQL application. I can simplify
the update API - at the cost of shifting that complexity to the more
hardwired program layer.

The real question is why should a low level database have a primary API
oriented to manual processing? It smells like the old 60s/70s push to make
programming languages 'English-like' on the theory that non-programmers
could then 'program'. With the resulting discovery that even if it looked
somewhat like English, writing a non-trivial program still takes a

Our in-house XML update language (it predates XML Update by roughly half a
year and is designed to work with existing web browser CGI forms) grew
from a dense, terse language to one having a noticable logical resemblance
to XML Update as we pushed harder. The denser form just became nearly
unreadable and unmaintainable.

Benjamin Franz

 "Code as if whoever maintains your code is a violent
  psychopath who knows where you live."
                    -- Nancy Lebovitz, the button lady