XML: The universal data format for integrated electronic business solutions
Relational database systems cannot meet all the demands of electronic business because they process data independently of its context. Traditional databases may be well suited for data that fits into rows and columns, but cannot adequately handle rich data such as audio, video, nested data structures or complex documents, which are characteristic of typical Web content. To deal with XML, traditional databases are typically retrofitted with external conversion layers that mimic XML storage by translating it between XML and some other data format. This conversion is error-prone and results in a great deal of overhead, particularly with increasing transaction rates and document complexity.
XML databases, on the other hand, store XML data natively in its structured, hierarchical form. Queries can be resolved much faster because there is no need to map the XML data tree structure to tables. This preserves the hierarchy of the data and increases performance.
SELF-DESCRIBING DATA - THE KEY TO SUCCESS
Unlike records in traditional data base systems, XML data does not require relational schemata, file description tables, external data type definitions, etc., because the data itself contains this information. In contrast to the widely used Web format, HTML, which only ensures the correct presentation of the formatted data, XML also guarantees total usability of data. This is imperative for business applications whose tasks extend beyond the mere presentation of content.
COMPLETE INTEGRATION OF ALL TRADITIONAL DATABASES AND FORMATS
XML documents can contain any imaginable data type - from classical data like text and numbers, or multimedia objects such as sounds, to active formats like Java applets or ActiveX components.
MODIFICATIONS TO DATA PRESENTATION - NO REPROGRAMMING REQUIRED
You can change the look and feel of documents or even entire websites with XSL Style Sheets without manipulating the data itself.
ONE-SERVER VIEW OF DISTRIBUTED DATA
XML documents can consist of data from many different databases distributed over multiple servers. In other words: With XML the entire World Wide Web is transformed into a single all-encompassing database.
Internationalization is of utmost importance for electronic business applications. XML supports multilingual documents and the Unicode standard.
OPEN AND EXTENSIBLE
XML’s one-of-a-kind open structure allows you to add other state-of-the-art elements when needed. This means that you can always adapt your system to embrace industry-specific vocabulary.
XML is the endorsed industry standard of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and is supported by all leading software providers. Furthermore, XML is also the standard today in an increasing number of other industries, for example health care.
If you want to profit from XML’s benefits, you need a native XML solution like the Tamino XML Server.
XML - The benefits
XML and the Enterprise database infrastructure today
Learn XML in 11.5 Minutes (by L.C. Rees)