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Moving to XML -- Does it mean throwing out your RDB queries?

Bringing relational data into XML formats is a major task for many developers these days. XML has clear benefits as a lingua franca for integration, but it must co-exist with a well-established body of relational DB know-how.

More than a few architects are concerned that they will soon have to throw a slew of finely tuned relational queries out the window and start over. The fact that IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and other relational database makers are working to add XML to their databases does not necessarily solve this problem, either.

"People have spent a lot of time optimizing their data with stored procedures, triggers and the like," said Burke Cox, CEO at JNetDirect, in a recent conversation with Programmers Report. "They are not about to introduce XML queries or XML data into those stable environments. But their constituencies ask for it."

Cox's company recently unveiled software to address RDB-to-XML data mapping. JSQLMapper is a bidirectional data-mapping tool that cuts requirements for custom coding to bring relational data into XML format.

With JSQLMapper, developers can create data mappings from existing relational data stores to XML documents. Said Burke: "We wanted to help developers and programmers take advantage of the power and flexibility of XML without having to abandon the years of optimization put into their relational data." The product includes a graphical tool for mapping from source to targets.

JNetDirect arose from the 2000 merger of Juldi Inc. and NetDirect LLC. For JNetDirect and other companies (not to mention programmers) it has been a tough go in the wake of the Internet tsunami. But Burke and company see an unmet need for data access and data modeling.

The software business is like parenting, comments Burke. It is unlike football in that "you can never spike it." The game goes on.

"Projects end but new technology is always there for you to deal with. And externally, your constituencies are getting more familiar with the technology," he said. And these constituencies place new demands that are always evolving.

"We believe in modeling data and accessing data to meet all those needs," Burke said.

About the Author

Jack Vaughan is former Editor-at-Large at Application Development Trends magazine.

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