The marriage of SQL and XML

A major shift in the style of enterprise data management is under way, and there are huge architectural issues yet to be resolved. Oracle, not surprisingly, wants you to store everything in a centralized hybrid DBMS. IBM says it would rather enable you to federate data across a range of sources. Each strategy has merit, and most enterprises will wind up pursuing both -- in different ways, for various reasons. Despite these differences, we are witnessing a sacred union. SQL and XML have been pronounced man and wife, and the honeymoon has begun. [Full story at]

I just reread this story, and the quote that most resonates with me is this one, from Oracle's Sandeepan Banerjee (or, as San Francisco, Calif.-based InfoWorld's copy editors would have it, "Redwood Shores, Calif.-based Oracle's Banerjee"):

It's possible that developers will want to stay within an XML abstraction for all their data sources.

I've been living that experiment for a few months. My last few O'Reilly Network columns (1, 2) describe an XML-oriented approach to data management that I am continuing to find fruitful -- even without the capabilities that XML-savvy databases bring to the table. When you think about how long it took for SQL to become an established discipline, it helps put SQL/XML hybridization -- the subject of this InfoWorld story -- into perspective. It could take a decade or more for this stuff to really start to sink in. Along the way all sorts of new opportunities will emerge, and I find the whole thing terrifically exciting.

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