A New Hope (was Re: Storing Lots of Fiddly Bits (was Re: What is XML for?))

spreitze at parc.xerox.com spreitze at parc.xerox.com
Mon Feb 8 21:45:56 GMT 1999

Aw heck, I made an important typo in my message: I wrote "XML's entity structure" where I meant to refer to XML's *element* structure.

In short, I'm advocating making it possible to write XML schemas in a (logically, probably not physically) factored way: one part expresses a schema in terms of a fully labelled graph, and the other part expresses a particular mapping of the fully labelled graph data model into XML instances.

I brought this up here because the discussion of storing XML in databases touched on the topic of the difference in data models between databases and XML instances.  If XML schemas were factored as I suggest, they could describe data in a data model (fully labelled graphs) that is much closer, if not identical, to that of many general-purpose databases (as well as the way many people --- though demonstrably not all --- prefer to think).  Such a factored schema, augmented by a small mapping-to-DB's-datamodel part if necessary, could be used to facilitate automatic and efficient translation between (1) XML instances and (2) application data in general-purpose databases.

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