Traditional RDBMS vs XML datastore(s): Opinions on

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Thread: Traditional RDBMS vs XML datastore(s): Opinions on

  1. #1
    Patrick Barnes Guest

    Default Traditional RDBMS vs XML datastore(s): Opinions on

    I am new to XML and in charge of designing an ASP 3.0 site for a chain of hospitals. These hospitals do not need to use an industry Schema as they are not exchanging patient records or other like data that has schema designed for them. Rather, most of the functionality centers around querying a database to get patient personal data (of a non-health record type), health provider data, etc. and database administration functions (add, update, delete). Nothing too difficult. But my reading in XML of late has led me to consider not going with the traditional SQL Server database, complete with foreign keys and reduced to the 3rd normal form (a lot of work). I&#039m seriously considering going with XML documents to store all the data, and perhaps use SQL Server only to store the XML datastream and a few keywords for quick access (hence jettisoning the time and effort needed to design and maintain a complex RDBMS).<BR> <BR>Any thoughts from those experienced with XML on whether the XML datastore idea is definitely the way to go; what it&#039s pitfalls might be; etc.? I&#039d appreciate pointers to any technical articles you may have run across, too. I&#039ve searched my typical ASP sources but can&#039t find much that would be of use in making such a strategic design decision. I eagerly await Wrox Press&#039s forthcoming *Professional XLM Databases*, due out in December.<BR> <BR>Thanks,<BR>Patrick Barnes<BR>Web Application Developer<BR>Geonetric Technologies, LLC<BR> <BR>

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 1969

    Default RE: Traditional RDBMS vs XML datastore(s): Opinion

    Well, I don&#039t have any real experience of using an XML datastore, but one question immediately springs to mind: is the data you want to model primarily relational or heirarchical? I suspect that you&#039ll find that it&#039s relational - for example, the record of a patient is related to, but NOT part of, the record of a hospital ward, because that patient can be moved to another ward without implying any real change to either entity. It&#039s the relationsip between entities that&#039s important in this case.<BR><BR>I think you&#039ll find that the time and effort needed to design and mantain complex XML schemas and transformations will at least equal that for a RDBMS. Besides, there are very good reasons to use a proper Boyce-Codd normal form DB schema. You can actually push a lot of the semantics of your application into the schema if you design it properly.<BR><BR>Like I say, this isn&#039t based on any real-world experience of XML datastores. I do have a fair bit of RDBMS experience, so I guess it&#039s natural that I would tend towards that solution unless there&#039s a really good reason not to.<BR><BR>Dunc

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 1969

    Default Agree

    I have some real world experience with XML, and I think I can say that it is not easier than using a DB.<BR><BR>I really like XML, but it is not the be all and end all.<BR>Just as it doesn&#039t replace html, it is not meant to replace a DB.<BR><BR>One of the most interesting implemetations I have seen stores frequenty accessed data as xml in a text field...<BR><BR>-A<BR><BR>

  4. #4
    Patrick Barnes Guest

    Default RE: Agree

    Thanks for both your answers. Quite helpful. I think I agree, too. Based on what others I have asked have said, I am now leaning heavily toward using a traditional db and probably storing frequently used data as XML streams.

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