XML Database Design

An XML(Extensible Markup Language) database is a data persistent software application that enables data to be stored in XML format. This data can then be queried, exported and serialized into the desired format.

All XML databases support at least one form of query syntax. Minimally, just about all of them support XPath for performing queries against documents or collections of documents. XPath provides a simple pathing system that allows users to identify nodes that match a particular set of criteria.

In addition to XPath, many XML databases support XSLT as a method of transforming documents or query-results retrieved from the database. XSLT provides a declarative language written using an XML grammar. It aims to define a set of XPath filters that can transform documents (in part or in whole) into other formats including Plain text, XML, or HTML.

Many XML databases also support XQuery to perform querying. XQuery includes XPath as a node-selection method, but extends XPath to provide transformational capabilities.

XML was designed to simplify the transmission and use of text based information over the Internet.
Some advantages of XML are:

  • XML has a high level of efficiency and accuracy for the transmission and representation of data.
  • Using XML for your data storage, distribution and representation eliminates the overhead associated with using a relational database like SQL Server or MySQL, when multiple tables with relationships are not necessary.
  • XML is an extensible language, which means you can create your own tags.
  • XML is at least as easy to work with as HTML.
  • XML is a platform vendor and system independent.
  • When applications exchange data using XML, there are no incompatibilities or loss of data even between completely different platforms or operating systems.
  • XML can be utilized by many different applications regardless of the platform it is being used on.
  • XML is very portable. It can be used on large networks with a variety of systems as well as on mobile PCs or PDAs.
  • XML can be readily be imported and exported by most modern database systems.
  • XML is the format used by RSS, ATOM feeds and Web services, which simplifies the integration and distribution of data.

The XML specification defines an XML document as text that is well formed, which satisfies a list of syntax rules, some of which are:

  • There may be only a single root element which contains all the other elements.
  • An XML document should contain only properly encoded Unicode characters.
  • No markup characters such as "&" and ">" should exist within the content of an XML document except where functioning as markup delineation.
  • The begin, end, and empty element tags which delimit elements should be correctly nested, with no missing or overlapping tags.
  • Element tags are case-sensitive.

The violation of any of these well formed rules in an XML document will cause the processing of XML to stop and the XML processor to throw an error. Which we think is a good thing, as it helps to ensure the integrity of the data being presented.

When you are ready, contact us to learn more about creating an XML database for your custom web development.