Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Tech: XML for DBAs

“XML is not for every use or occasion. But when you need flexibility and neutrality, it can be ideal” – Ari Kaplan

I’m not a Database Administrator, by temperament. But I have to be across some of the issues, working in business intelligence.

An interesting use of XML in this month’s Oracle magazine. You want to archive data from previous years, but the table’s schema may change. You want to drop the archived data, but you want to be able to restore it again.

The solution is to archive the data into XML format. This involves extracting and wrapping it in XML tags. The data can be placed in an archival database as XML, able to be mined later.

Here, Oracle uses two specific functions: XMLFOREST to convert relational into XML data, XMLELEMENT to wrap user-defined tags around the data. However, I can’t see any difficulty achieving the desired results in other ways, if a given database product doesn’t have such functions.


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