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RE: merge mode for XML

From: Greg A. Woods
Subject: RE: merge mode for XML
Date: Wed, 15 May 2002 13:02:33 -0400 (EDT)

[ On Monday, May 13, 2002 at 10:31:36 (-0700), Glew, Andy wrote: ]
> Subject: RE: merge mode for XML
> > > Motivation: schema changes in most existing relational databases are
> > > onerous.
> > 
> > For very good reason.
> And what is that reason?

because an RDBMS cannot understand the semantic qualities of your data
unless you describe them to it -- they are, by definition, not inutitive.

> An application area that I frequently work in nowadays
> is experimental databases - databases for experimental data.
> I want to archive all of my experimental data in a form that
> allows me to do arbitrary SQL-like queries over it.

I think you really need to look at flat text files.  IIRC there are SQL
engines available that will access them -- and with about as much
expectations to performance, though in my book AWK will do as well.
Even if you have millions of results per table AWK will do just fine.

> Problem is, as I continue my research, the format of
> my records is continually changing.

Or maybe OODBMS technology is more what you need....  But that may cost
you more than using AWK....

> I've tried to do this in a traditional RDBMS database.
> I've asked database experts like deWitt and the guy who
> invented transactions whose name I can't remember now...
> and the answer always comes that the traditional RDBMS way
> is to create a database in fully normalized form,
> of the form Experiment#:Metric:Value.
> Worse, it may be ncessary to create several different tables
> for each type.  It is impossible for ordinary humans
> to write queries in such a form.

Heh.  Yes, you do need an OODBMS....

> Yet, "self-schematization" makes it trivial to do.

Perhaps only in an OODBMS....

> Well, deWitt is the big advocate of ORDBMS
> - Object Relational DBMS.

Hmmmm....  I've not been a big fan of ORDBMS, but then I'm not a huge
DBMS user.  I don't know what the tradeoffs are w.r.t. a true OODBMS.

                                                                Greg A. Woods

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