Re: funny article

From: Jan Hidders <>
Date: Fri, 03 Dec 2004 17:48:25 GMT
Message-ID: <JF1sd.8912$>

Costin Cozianu wrote:
> Do you mind if I ask you if this church of XML is abotu a data model or
> about a document model ?

Hmm, I would say it's somewhere in between. The term "data exchange model" describes it well, I think. It's in any case certainly not something you should use for defining general conceptual models, (neith is the relational model, but I digress) but in the near future it will have all the necessary features of a data model.

> And is there any validity to the rumors that its priests are being
> bribed by lavish grants and sponsored conferences that end up showing
> kind of very little in the way of results ?

All lies! :-)

But seriously, this is largely a matter of perspective. Yes, there are grants and conferences are indeed sponsored. But to a very large extent this has always been true in database research, and in fact most of that money is coming from the same people as before, viz., the RDBMS builders. This has never lead to any big problems before, and I don't see why it should now. Moreover, since when is it bad that scientists are focusing on the real-world problems that industry says they are having? I would consider that a feature, not a bug. Finally, I can assure you from personal experience that there is a very healthy debate in the database research community about how to keep our academic integrity. There are lots of researchers that will give you a really funny look if you say that are going to work for Microsoft. :-)

That there would be very little in terms of results is simply complete nonsense. There have already been very interesting results in both theoretical and practical areas, and at the moment this only seems to be getting better. Especially, there is some very interesting interaction going in between the programming language community and the database community which is leading to very new solutions and addressing problems that weren't getting much attention in the past. I've been doing some research myself on query optimization and it is very interesting to see how differently the two communities tend to approach the same problem.

> I mean a modest software engineer like me, even if I was brainwashed by
> XML propaganda, I wouldn't be able to use much in the way of building
> systems. That is after so many years of hype. That is contrast with,
> say, SQL, which inspite of the theoretical problems, still makes the
> world go round in many places.

In terms of publishing formats, data exchange and file formats XML has already made a lot of things much easier than they were and is in that sense already making parts of the world go round right now. But if the systems you build don't involve that, then nobody in my church is claiming that you should use XML anyway.

 From the database perspective one cannot really make a judgement until XML as a data model is truly and well there, and things have only just begun to take shape. The essential component, a query language, is not even a finished standard yet and query optimization research and other typical database subjects (concurrency, integrity, et cetera) are still very much in their infancy.

  • Jan Hidders
Received on Fri Dec 03 2004 - 18:48:25 CET

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