Separation of Content and Structure

Simon St.Laurent simonstl at
Sat Jul 24 00:40:17 BST 1999

At 03:11 PM 7/23/99 -0500, Clinton Gallagher wrote:
>Do any of those who have a command of the use of XML remain using relational
>databases and in which context as a development tool might the relational
>database remain useful?

If your information is highly structured and can be fit into the normalized
table structure of relational databases easily, you'll probably find you're
best off using a relational database rather than piles of
difficult-to-search XML files or even a hierarchical object store.  They're
much quicker for raw search and retrieval if the information fits the rules.

On the other hand, if you've got lots of information that's more
'document-like', with unpredictable lengths of content, flexible structures
for marking up information on an as-needed basis, or information that shows
up in formats you don't always control, then XML, possibly stored in a
flexible hierarchical data manager of some sort, is probably a good idea.

In either case, it's not that hard to get your information into and out of
XML when needed.  Store the info the way that's most efficient for your
needs, and build bridges between your storage and transmission as required.

At least that's my take.

Simon St.Laurent
XML: A Primer / Building XML Applications
Inside XML DTDs: Scientific and Technical
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