Query Languages for XML

Simeon Simeonov simeons at allaire.com
Mon Nov 17 16:07:51 GMT 1997

Joe Lapp wrote:

>This is a very significant point.  I expect that DOM will define
>query operations on its objects, so that via IDLs, programs will be
>able to remotely manage persistent XML databases.  However, for
>reasons I've given in other posts, I think an XML-based query
>language is necessary.  The form of that query language might
>mirror the form defined by DOM, but the query language will
>necessarily provide constructs not named by DOM.  DOM assumes the
>existence of a Turing-complete programming language.  Just as SQL
>has, we would need to have mechanisms for piping filters through
>each other and for performing operations on the result sets.

The simpler operations of an XML-based query language can have profound
impact on the usability of data on the Web. The high demand for web
applications is drawing individuals with little to no programming experience
to web development. They may find it quite difficult to write a script-based
traversal algorithm using the XML DOM to extract some piece of information
from a document. However, experience from the client-server world tells us
that most people can easily learn how to formulate simple SELECT statements
in SQL.

I would speculate that, if a standard does not emerge by the next browser
releases, vendors will move to provide their own query mechanisms. Why?
Because they would like to make the consumption of arbitrary XML from within
HTML as easy as possible. (IE4 DSOs are a move in the right direction.)

Simeon Simeonov

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