By the end of this year (three weeks and counting as of the date of this post) XQuery is set to receive formal World Wide Web Consortium certification as the XML counterpart to the conventional SQL database language.
Make no mistake about it: the momentum has started. XML is rapidly replacing HTML as the Web’s standard display language. MicrosoftOffice and OpenOffice have seen the light, and are moving to XML databases. And even the relational database powers are seeing the virtues of including XML capability into their builds.
So what does all this admitted momentum have to do with XQuery?You can learn a lot about why from reading a Computerworld interview with Jonathan Roble, XQuery tech lead at Progress Software Corp. subsidiary DataDirect Technologies.
Here’s what Roble told Computerworld’s Eric Lai when Lai essentially asked him what’s the big deal with XQuery:
“If you’ve got objects, you want an object-oriented programming language. If you’ve got relational tables, you want SQL,” Roble explained. If you’ve got XML, you want an XML programming language.
“You could mix and match and, for instance, use Java to program a relational database,” Roble admits. “But you would write a lot more code, it’s a lot more complicated, and you end up fighting the data you’re working with. For data integration, XQuery also has a unique advantage.
“Usually, you have to learn a new [application programming interface] for every different data source you work with” Roble adds. Then you have to do a lot of programming to integrate the data and bring it together.”
Now for the money shot:
“XQuery gets rid of all that,” Roble says. “It lets you query everything as if it were XML and create an XML result. You don’t have all of those APIs cluttering everything up.