Re: What is the logic of storing XML in a Database?

From: Bernard Peek <>
Date: 30 Mar 2007 20:47:33 GMT
Message-ID: <>

On 2007-03-30, Stefan Nobis <> wrote:
> "Daniel" <> writes:
>> In some sense, avoiding having to solve this problem is the entire
>> reason for XML.
> No, XML does in no way address the real problem: documentation and
> semantics. For example the problem Bernard Peek described was not
> really solved by using XML but by documentation and clear
> semantics.

As I've sai before, there is nothing that XML can do that can't be done in other ways. But as we have XML I don't see a lot of point in putting in any work to discover those ways unless we can be sure that the time/resource saved will be more than the cost of researching and developing an alternative.

> XML is no help here, because people are not *forced* to
> define a schema neither to write documentation.

Actually in my case they were. I forced them and I wrote and published the documentation. "XML" is a magic word. It's one of a few technical terms that senior managers recognise, even if they don't understand it. I could get board level support for an initiative to introduce XML standards, I probably couldn't have got that support to use a technology that lacked magic words.

> If you have a XML
> document without schema and documentation or even with (a complex)
> schema but without documentations (so you have no or little ideas
> about semantics) you are just as lost as with every (undocumented)
> binary format.
> XML is no real help here.

That's not completely true. Given an XML file you can reverse-engineer a schema which will document the structure to some extent. With that schema you can feed the XML into analysis tools that will show its structure. You can then take the schema and attempt to refine it. If you get more samples of the XML file you can start to identify possible constraints on data types, formats and values.

> And for the records: There are binary standards like RFC 1014
> (XDR).

In search of cognoscenti
Received on Fri Mar 30 2007 - 22:47:33 CEST

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