XML Data : Beyond the Hype
-- Kranti M
Many a person may be disillusioned into giving too much credit to a technology
due to the hype surrounding it, while others may dismiss it as a farce
for the very same reason!
XML as a data storage and retrieval medium has been enthusiastically
promoted by few and shunned by others as being nothing more than old wine
in a new bottle. It is interesting to note that the XML database model
is uncomfortably similar to the hierarchical database model that was supposedly
"killed" by the relational database model back in the 80s.
XML databases may not come in with all guns blazing and kill the traditional
databases, but they do present some very bright possibilities for those
of us who can look beyond the hype and apply the technology where it can
deliver the goods.
In any business application one has to exchange data between a database
and other systems (other applications, another database, etc.). As the
same data model is not used by everyone, you'll have to find one that
allows a wider audience usage and yet manages to capture all the semantics
XML presents an ideal solution to these needs. Formats like CSV files
do not enable us to capture enough semantics, and more complicated solutions
like Java serialized objects or CORBA objects-by-values are an overkill.
Other arguments in favor of using XML are that, one seldom exchanges
large, complex set of data between two systems. Realistically a view or
subset of the database would suffice and a hierarchical model should effectively
Furthermore, a hierarchical format like XML is perhaps the most structured
format that is still readable by humans. Arent humans after all
an integral part of any information system?
XMLs potential impact is significant, Web servers and applications
encoding their data in XML can quickly make their information available
in a simple and usable format, and such information providers can interoperate
It is also worthwhile to note that XML differentiates between information
content and information rendering (using XSL eXtensible Stylesheet Language),
thus greatly reducing the effort in extracting usable data, as opposed
to HTML, where one would have to follow laborious and error-prone methods
like screen scrapping to extract any useful information.
XML is an evolving standard and is actively pursued and promoted by some
of the biggest names in the industry, these companies maintain that XML
has the potential to transform existing information systems on the web,
into a far more comprehensive, result centered and universally accessible
Eventually all companies may use XML to manage their web based data,
the difference between truly leveraging on the power of XML and merely
being an also ran will come from how quickly and effectively one can convert
their existing data into XML usable formats.
While, it may be prudent to wait and watch as others take the risk (and
XML matures into a global standard), It maybe a smarter business move
to convert your data now and be ready for the revolution when it arrives.
XML conversion can be a low risk entry point into the future of the web,
especially with all the outsource options available in todays vibrant
In addition to offering XML Data Storage and Retrival
as a service, we also offer other services like Business Process Engineering,
Porting Legacy applications to the web and Enterprise Application Integration.
Please contact us here
for more details.