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   Re: XML and the Relational Model

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At 02:18 PM 8/25/2003, lbradshaw@dbex.com wrote:

>So when someone says to me that an XML doc is, also, a database, and is 
>better at being a database than Oracle (or your favorite vendor) it gives 
>me heartburn. Someone actually said that to me, quite emphatically, recently.

Depends on what you mean by a database. If you mark up a Shakespeare 
document, you can do rather useful queries on it. A relational database is 
a bad way to represent a Shakespeare play.

>When I responded that my concern was that the embedded logic in the XML 
>doc file did not support normal forms, or relations, their response was 
>"what do you mean.... relations?"

I am not sure what you mean by embedded logic. You can have a database 
without tables. Relational databases do not "support" normal forms, 
database designers use normal forms to create database designs.

>For sure, people are trying to do terabyte systems that integrate 
>normalized data and legacy document data stores (such as the journal 
>"Nature"), primarily in XML, that is to say by converting out of an RDBMS 
>like Oracle and into pure XML docs without a dbms back end. This is the 
>source of my concern. They need some guidance, and will certainly receive 
>it, in one form (gentle comments in forums like this one) or another (when 
>their systems fail in production, or worse, never get past failed 
>prototype constructs).
>Still, I remain open minded, and if someone can offer proofs that support:
>- XML as a best practice (in any regard)

Look at web messages, delivery of information to web sites, some kinds of 
technical documentation.

>- XML as supporting RM

It doesn't.

>- XML as a programming language (embedded logic, etc)

It isn't. But if you are interested in XML-centric programming languages, I 
suggest you check out XQuery.

>- XML as ISO 9000 compliant
>- XML as CMM complaint

What do either of these have to do with the underlying database model?



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