XML vs. rel DBs [was: Re: [nycphp-talk] Many pages: one script]

Elliotte Harold elharo at
Wed Aug 8 11:20:10 EDT 2007

David Krings wrote:

> The best thing about XML is that it is really is just a flat file and 
> everything in it has a beginning and an end. I cannot think of anything 
> that one would want to store in XML that cannot be stored in a db and 
> that also cannot be stored in a text file with way less overhead. 
> Examples are welcome.

You need to remember we're talking about XML databases that store 
collections of XML documents, not simply a single XML document. A single 
relational record can be easily stored in a tab-delimited text file with 
way less overhead too. But when you have millions of these things that 
you have to sort, search, update, backup, specify access permissions, 
and so forth, then the database begins to show its worth.

With that in mind, consider:

The Encyclopedia Britannica
The collected publications of O'Reilly Media
The complete work product of Skadden-Arps
The New York Times
The collected works of William Shakespeare and other Elizaebthan dramatists

Then consider that you want to be able to make queries like, "Find all 
the paragraphs containing both the words 'Bush' and 'incompetent'" so 
you can't just shove everything into a BLOB.

Elliotte Rusty Harold  elharo at
Java I/O 2nd Edition Just Published!

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