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   Re: [xml-dev] A standard approach to glueing together reusableXML frag

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Codd's breakthrough with the relational model was moving from a "navigational" DBMS to "automatic navigation".   Think of it in terms of the analogy that a relational DBMS is to a navigational DBMS (hierarchical, network or inverted) as a compiled language is to assembly language.  Codd argued for a declarative way of describing "what" data is desired -- allowing the system to automatically generate the necessary underlying navigational logic (just as a compiler translates a high level language into lower level machine instructions).
Codd's key requirement was that all data be represented in at least first normal form -- meaning tabular.  The idea of 2nd and 3rd normal forms were to ensure that the designer had properly captured all many-to-many and one-to-many relationships, respectively.
XML is a "standard" data structure that includes 7 node types and 13 axes.  Fundamentally, there are six ways to Sunday to represent information using XML.  For instance, the choice between when to use elements versus when to use attributes is essentially arbitrary. 
The XML model is much richer and more robust than simple 2-dimensional tables.  On the other hand, much of the power of the relational model comes from its simplicity.  Note that the relational model only dealt with the external logical representation of data.  It never defines implementation details or access methods.  Theoretically, a relational DBMS can be implemented on top of an XML data store. 
The relational model basically preceded the shift to object-oriented.  As such, it really didn't address such ideas as inheritance and polymorphism.  On the other hand, much of the power of the relational model is derived by its support for closure, a property it shares with object technology and XSLT. 
Jeff Tash
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, August 25, 2003 3:18 PM
Subject: RE: [xml-dev] A standard approach to glueing together reusableXML fragments in prose?

> Ah, yes. The main problems with the hierarchical model are
> that it encourages data redundancy which leads to problems
> during updates and deletions.


3rd normal form was about showing that you could move to a relational
representation of data without introducing redundancy. The problems with
hierarchical and network database systems were quite different: the lack
of declarative data manipulation languages with good closure properties,
the close coupling of the data model and its implementation in physical
storage, the consequent high cost of data loading and reorganization.

Another urban myth...

Michael Kay

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