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   Re: [xml-dev] A standard approach to glueing together reusable XML fragm

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On Tue, Aug 19, 2003 at 04:48:08PM -0400, dbexlist wrote:
> I like what I see in TeraText, from their web site, but none of the 
> situations of which I am aware can afford to treat the data elements, or 
> XML data items, as text only. Every one of these applications has cause to 
> use relations between normal forms of the data elements, and to do advanced 
> indexing on various data types not just text, such as dates and date 
> ranges, numerical process results (averages, means, distributions, etc), 
> scientific enumerations and so on.

Just to clarify, as one of the TeraText developers I should note that the
TeraText DBS can store and index data not just as SGML or XML or MARC data,
but also as both primitive types such as dates, durations, integers, floats,
booleans, and Unicode/ASCII strings.  These can be repeating, combined in
user-definable, recursive structures, or can used to populate dynamically
calculated fields.  So it's not just raw XML. :-)

> Gov't docs are often like that - they are heavily laden with text or prose, 
> but also have significant valuations in other data types including math 
> equations with all sorts of notation formats or other readings such as 
> pollution indexes from the EPA, or farm crop estimates vs. harvests by crop 
> by month by county by year, or rainfall vs. temperature over time for each 
> day by gps coordinate areas, etc. etc.

Yes, absolutely.  It's really common for applications to want to directly
store lists of keywords, dates, durations, etc. in a record, along with
well-formed or valid XML.

> In other words, the TeraText approach does not seem to support relations 
> between normal forms, and so seems to have a self imposed design limit that 
> I, personally, find short of desirable. It is not just about massive data 
> handling, but also about being able to do things with that data after it 
> has been captured and has existed for some time, things that support 
> requirements that are not yet known. In my opinion. Only normal forms and 
> relational theory or the relational model (RM) offer this capability, in my 
> opinion.

Yes; building chains from one piece of information to another can
be invaluable, particularly with intelligence problems.  To that end,
the TeraText DBS has the ability to index specific relationships between
records in different databases; a bit like pre-computed joins.
For particular kinds of applications, this is often precisely what's
needed.  True, it's not the same as having a relational database, but
if one has several 100GB of genuinely relational data one can always
attempt to manage it with [a leading RDBMS]. :-)

Multimedia Databases Group, RMIT, Australia.


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