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Gilbane Boston 2012: XML and SQL: Not Dead Yet

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  • Not exclusive – e.g., XML is also widely used for data interchange between applications
  • This is a high-level dichotomy – and not meant to be precise or mutually-exclusive (i.e., some info items have both resource and relation attributes)
  • This is meant to be illustrative – neither precise nor exhaustive
  • Not drawn to scale… This and the next 3 slides are intended to be semi facetious, but probably align well with vocational/parochial perspectives within many enterprises
  • http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Albert_EinsteinBelieved to be a paraphrasing – a simplification – of “It can scarcely be denied that the supreme goal of all theory is to make the irreducible basic elements as simple and as few as possible without having to surrender the adequate representation of a single datum of experience.”
  • Point of having a merged cell for physical: it’s all coming together – it’s increasingly difficult to distinguish the underlying physical model services…Hypertext is not 1:1 with HTML – it’s beyond-the-basics hypertext as manifested, e.g., in Web publishing and collaboration-oriented systems/serversXQuery is not mainstream today, but it is exceptionally powerful and was co-developed in conjunction with XPath 2.0, and with a sustained focus on SQL synergy
  • “You’re soaking in it…” E.g., Oracle XML DB is automatically installed as part of Oracle Database 12c
  • Re JavaScript: see, e.g., JSONiq
  • Transcript

    • 1. Content Delivery Decisions for Technology Strategists Thursday, November 29, 2012 11:40 – 12:40Joseph Bachana President/Founder, DPCILeonor Ciarlone Principal, LMC CommunicationsPeter OKelly Principal Analyst, OKelly Associates
    • 2. Overall Session Agenda• Not Dead Yet: The Significant and Sustainable Synergy of XML and SQL• Convergence of Content Technologies in the Open Source World• Q&A 2
    • 3. Agenda: Not Dead Yet• Synopsis• Complementary concerns – Resources – Relations – Apps – Admin/ops• Perspectives and reality checks• Recommendations 3
    • 4. Synopsis: Not Dead Yet• XML and SQL are, respectively, the global standards for working with document- and Web- oriented information and traditional database management systems (DBMSs)• However, both are also at least ostensibly under siege, with, e.g., – Some application developers shifting their focus to JavaScript (and JSON, the JavaScript Object Notation) – Many software product marketing people and investors touting the professed power of "NoSQL" (and “NewSQL”) systems 4
    • 5. Synopsis: Not Dead Yet• The stakes are strategic, with ever-expanding compliance and competitive considerations, and with compelling new opportunities based on – Big data – Cloud services – HTML5 clients – Mobile devices• [Spoiler alert: neither XML nor SQL is going away] 5
    • 6. Agenda: Not Dead Yet• Synopsis• Complementary concerns• Perspectives and reality checks• Recommendations 6
    • 7. Resources and Relations• A digital information item dichotomy – Resources (~unstructured information): “content” • Digital artifacts optimized to convey stories – Organized in terms of narrative, hierarchy, and sequence • Examples: books, magazines, documents (e.g., PDF, Word), Web pages, XBRL documents, video, hypertext… – Relations (~structured information): “data” • Application-independent descriptions of real-world things and relationships • Examples: business domain databases (e.g., customer, sales, HR…), data.com, wikidata.org… 7
    • 8. A Big-Picture Framework Resource Relation 8
    • 9. Separation of Concerns• Back to basics – XML (with namespaces, XSD, XPath, XQuery, XSLT, …) for resources • Presentation • Structure • Behavior – SQL for relations • Application/data independence • Logical/physical data independence• Related services for both information domains: identity, authentication, authorization, logging, transactions, indexing, dynamic storage optimization… – Ideally handled by underlying information management systems rather than applications 9
    • 10. Complementary Concerns Apps Resource Relation Admin/Ops 10
    • 11. Agenda: Not Dead Yet• Synopsis• Complementary concerns• Perspectives and reality checks• Recommendations 11
    • 12. Resource Perspectives Resource Apps Relation Admin/Ops• Every useful thing is a resource (document/page)• SQL is for uncreative and obsessive data nerds• Apps are interactive/compound resources• Admin/ops: somebody else’s problem 12
    • 13. Relation Perspectives Apps Relation Resource Admin/Ops• Relations can describe all useful things• Resource: XML compound data type instance• Apps are interfaces for relation interaction• Admin/ops: somebody else’s problem 13
    • 14. Application Perspectives Apps Resource Relation Admin/Ops• Anything that’s not an app is just for archival• Resource => XML => verbose/unwieldy• Relation => SQL => impedance mismatch• Admin/ops: somebody else’s problem 14
    • 15. Admin/Ops Perspectives Apps Resource Relation Admin/ Ops• Robust/scalable admin/ops or we all go to jail• Resource => XML => eXtra Mondo Large files• Relation => SQL => a DBMS trying to be an OS• Apps: most likely to break infrastructure 15
    • 16. Vendor Marketing Perspectives• Resources: a Web-centric approach fixes everything• Relations: NoSQL fixes everything• Apps: JSON fixes everything• Admin/ops: the cloud fixes everything 16
    • 17. A Reality Check“Everything should be madeas simple as possible, butno simpler.” 17
    • 18. Modeling Abstractions Resources RelationsConceptual Documents and links; documents Entities, attributes, relationships, and focused primarily on narrative, identifiers hierarchy, and sequenceLogical Model: hypertext Model: extended relational Language: XQuery (ideally…) Language: SQLPhysical Indexing (e.g., scalar data types, XML, and full-text), locking and isolation levels (for transactions), federation, replication/synchronization, in-memory databases, columnar storage, table spaces, caching, and more 18
    • 19. A Resource Reality Check• XML has some idiosyncrasies, but it’s beyond good-enough for its primary target domain, and it’s here to stay – Indeed, XML is, in some respects, just getting started • XQuery, in particular, is exceptionally powerful• But XML should be made invisible to information architects, application developers, and admin/ops – They should work with tools that support their respective levels of abstraction, but that still leverage XML when appropriate 19
    • 20. “A DBMS is good for my XML?” 20
    • 21. A Relation Reality Check• SQL has some idiosyncrasies, but it’s beyond good-enough for its primary target domain, and it’s here to stay – Being anti-SQL, ultimately, is being anti-set theory • Not a good bet when you’re describing sets of things• But SQL should be made invisible to information architects, application developers, and admin/ops – They should work with tools that support their respective levels of abstraction, but that still leverage SQL when appropriate 21
    • 22. XML and SQL• XML and SQL are sustainably complementary – When used appropriately• XQuery was designed – by a team including one of SQL’s creators – to complement SQL• The market-leading RDBMSs can automatically ingest and generate XML• Some leading XML servers are adding SQL support 22
    • 23. An App Perspective Reality Check• The dreaded “impedance mismatch” is mostly a consequence of inadequate programming languages and tools• Reverting to a programs-have-files perspective means ignoring decades of software engineering evolution• Using JavaScript doesn’t have to preclude the effective use of XML and SQL – But tools that don’t entail major compromises are only now starting to appear 23
    • 24. An Admin/Ops Reality Check• DBMS evolution isn’t done yet – Multi-model DBMSs are now the enterprise norm • Including subsystems for XML, file steaming, spatial data, and more – Automatic “sharding” • New extensions to logical/physical database independence and database optimization – A leading indicator: watch what Google does with SQL (or “SQL-like” approaches) in BigQuery and Spanner 24
    • 25. Agenda: Not Dead Yet• Synopsis• Complementary concerns• Perspectives and reality checks• Recommendations 25
    • 26. Recommendations• Build consensus and establish clear criteria for what to use when (and how) – Otherwise people will often default to the tools and technologies with which they’re most familiar • And/or the most fun or résumé-enhancing – Best practices start with effective modeling and query formulation skills • Reminder: XML and SQL should be invisible to most of the people who benefit from using them 26
    • 27. Recommendations• Only invest in tools that don’t dumb-down XML or SQL DBMS usage patterns – RDBMS and XDBMS are exceptionally powerful • But not when they’re demoted to serve as basic file systems – Many advocates of “NoSQL/NewSQL” systems have large collections of simplifying assumptions • Sometimes going beyond “… as simple as possible” – With major compromises and trade-offs that are sometimes not fully understood until far into a project lifecycle 27
    • 28. Recommendations• Start preparing now to fully leverage advances such as – Pervasive beyond-the-basics hypertext – Multi-model DBMSs that apply XML/SQL synergy • Especially high-performance XQuery/SQL integration – Don’t discount the possibility that the DBMS “usual suspects” (commercial and open source) will eventually provide the most effective XML + SQL products/services 28
    • 29. Recap: Not Dead Yet• XML and SQL are – and will continue to be – respectively, the global standards for working with document- and Web-oriented information and traditional DBMSs – Although they will ideally be invisible to most people• Many of the alleged successors to XML- and SQL- related technologies are more complementary than competitive – JavaScript tools can productively coexist with XQuery and SQL, for example – Most “NoSQL” and “NewSQL” developments are primarily focused on the physical database layer, and aren’t in conflict with evolving XML and SQL DBMSs 29
    • 30. Recap: Not Dead Yet• The stakes are strategic, with ever-expanding compliance and competitive considerations, and with compelling new opportunities – Which are likely to accelerate rather than derail XML and SQL market momentum• This is an opportune time to build consensus on and skills in related techniques and tools 30
    • 31. Q&A 31