Can SQL be Saved from XML, Forced to Use XML Centric Syntax
XML is becoming critically important to every facet of information technology. For this reason it will become critical that SQL support XML satisfactorily or a replacement query language will be found. Up until now, no fully integrated native XML solution has been found. Instead every SQL vendor has developed their own proprietary non standard SQL solution that still does not fully integrate with XML and must use XML centric syntax. This also means that all SQL vendors’ XML support are incompatible with each other even when using ODBC or JDBC.
Because relational data is flat and XML data is hierarchical, there is a huge impedance mismatch that seemingly prevents native XML from being processed directly by SQL. So the popular solution has been to flatten or shred XML data so that it becomes compatible with relational data allowing it to be processed naturally by SQL. This has a downside since XML’s hierarchical semantics are not utilized automatically and the flattening of XML data takes a very serious toll on processing and memory efficiency.
XQuery Enters the Picture
Because no SQL-based native XML integration solution has been found until now, XQuery, an XML query language from the W3C, has been used as a supplemental solution for processing native XML in SQL systems. This approach is an interoperation solution and not an integration solution, and is certainly not an SQL solution. It requires learning a new XML centric query language that is more complex and more procedure-like than SQL.
This is the first step in the natural supplanting of SQL’s domain by XQuery, brought about because SQL could not integrate native XML data satisfactorily. This is made more feasible and justified because all SQL vendors are divided by their incompatible proprietary solutions. This is not XML’s fault, it has been the inability to find a standard and acceptable solution for SQL-based native XML integration. Whatever the case, this is not a good situation for SQL.
Good News On the Horizon: SQLfX®
There is good news on the horizon. An XML data integration solution for SQL has been found. It is ANSI standard and operates directly and seamlessly on native XML. And that is only the beginning, this natural and seamless solution can also directly model and join hierarchical data structures, and operate on native XML data fully hierarchically, preserving and utilizing its useful hierarchical semantics for automated structured XML output. This is implemented in our patented ANSI SQL for XML SQLfX® product now in implementation and scheduled for release first quarter 2007.
It is interesting to note, that standard SQL’s nonprocedural inherent multi-leg hierarchical processing is as powerful as XQuery’s procedure-like processing, only automatic allowing more complex nonlinear hierarchical processing to be performed. This indicates that SQL is naturally capable of integrating and processing native XML. In many cases, nonprocedural query languages like SQL can automatically perform extremely complex hierarchical semantic processing that is impractical for XML query languages which must specify the complex processing semantics procedurally.
Nonprocedural languages like SQL automatically utilize the vast amount of naturally occurring hierarchical semantics in structured data like XML to perform semantically complex operations automatically. This naturally increases the value of the data and ease of use delivering significant ROI for the customer. This web site describes these and other innovative SQL hierarchical processing capabilities with their hierarchical processing underpinnings. Our company, Advanced Data Access Technologies, is also described with its current development of its SQLfX® product based on this new inherent ANSI SQL-based native XML integration technology.
What About the SQLX Group’s SQL/XML Work
The ANSI SQLX group’s work on the SQL/XML standard, involves function specifications placed in the SQL Select list to specify how data names and data types are mapped between SQL and XML. They also include nested procedural coding of XML centric functions for publishing structured XML from relational data. But with our inherent SQL hierarchical data modeling and structure processing, a structured XML document can be published automatically and dynamically. Its structure will automatically reflect the full hierarchical processing and structure that occurred naturally, this also insures the query output is logically correct.
Additionally, our SQLfX® technology includes: the direct seamless and natural SQL reference of XML data items stored in native XML; standard SQL updating of relational tables using live native XML data values; dynamic hierarchical joining of hierarchical data structures; and full hierarchical query selection and nonlinear processing of multi-leg hierarchical structures. This isa complete integrated solution. In addition: node promotion; fragment processing; structural transformation; variable structures; and shared and duplicate element use are seamlessly supported in ANSI SQL producing a powerful naturally standard solution. All of these capabilities are described in this web site.