IBM Spices Up Its Content Manager

IBM next year will release a tool-code-named Cinnamon-that will enable its Content Manager software to more easily index and search XML data.

IBM next year will release a tool—code-named Cinnamon—that will enable its Content Manager software to more easily index and search XML data.

Cinnamon is a result of Clio, an ongoing research project at IBMs Almaden Research Center that aims to develop a tool for automatically creating mappings between different forms of data. Cinnamon will allow users to define how XML documents will get mapped into IBMs DB2 database, making it easier to store and manage content, according to IBM executives. It will ship as part of the tools package that arrives with Content Managers next release, which does not yet have a version number or name, said IBM executives.

Cinnamons raison dêtre has to do with current problems in placing queries to XML-tagged data. Querying now requires proprietary code that either doesnt take full advantage of the XML format or cannot be used consistently, said IBM executives.

"Like in the world of the librarian, you have the challenge of how to write up descriptions of what the objects are in the stacks," said Jim Reimer, chief architect for IBM Content Management, in San Jose, Calif. "Today, theres not a widely accepted set of standards, such as SQL [Structured Query Language], to talk to a content management system."

Tools like Clio, Reimer said, have focused on taking XML documents, peeling out searchable properties and then populating those properties into rows in a database. Cinnamon takes that one step further, permitting users to automatically map documents and send them into a relational database or vice versa. It does that by automatically placing an XML document into a row in a database and, conversely, by taking terms out of an XML database and populating them into columns in a relational database.

Nelson Mattos, Distinguished Engineer for IBM in charge of information integration efforts in data management, said that Cinnamon represents another step in the ladder that leads to on-demand computing. "This is all about companies becoming flexible and dynamic, in order for them to be able to respond with speed to changes in the marketplace and to changes in the business space, whether that be competitive threats or whatever," said Mattos, also in San Jose. "One way to achieve that is the companies need a particular kind of IT infrastructure, including the ability to manage all information assets."

XML plays a key role in getting there, Mattos said. "Given that its a language thats very rich, that allows you to describe data in relational systems and in content repositories and can describe information youre integrating, it allows you to use information to interchange with other applications, with a portal, with process applications, etc."

IBM is promising plenty more examples of its work on XML between now and next year. Recently, those efforts have included a partnership with Microsoft Corp. that in April resulted in the two database giants presenting a test suite for the XQuery standard to the W3C.

In addition, IBM joined with Oracle Corp. earlier this month to announce a new Java Specification Request to define a Java API for invocations of queries written in XQuery, the XML querying language.