Developers Flock to XML Query Spec

A new survey finds that a majority of developers using XQuery cited simplified XML data access and transformation as the top reason they use it even before it becomes a standard.

A new survey of developers using XML has found that a vast majority are using or plan to use XML Query even before it becomes a standard because of the languages ability to simplify data extraction.

DataDirect Technologies Inc., of Bedford, Mass., surveyed 550 developers on their plans for XQuery usage, and 52 percent said they are already using it, while 33 percent said they plan to use it this year, said Larry Kim, product manager of DataDirects XML Products Group.

Kim said that prior to the survey, vendor adoption of XQuery had been evident, but user adoption had not been adequately quantified.

The XQuery specification is not yet an approved standard. The World Wide Web Consortium working group that oversees the specification includes IBM, DataDirect, BEA Systems Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Oracle Corp. The group produced a working draft of XQuery in February and is expected to publish a final working draft later this year and gain W3C approval next year.

Meanwhile, developers are using XQuery for a variety of purposes.

/zimages/4/28571.gifTo read about how IBM is flexing its XML Muscle, click here.

According to the survey, 37.4 percent of XQuery users are software engineers. IT consultants make up 9.9 percent of users, program managers constitute 9.9 percent, systems architects make up 7.6 percent and Web developers make up 6.9 percent.

The majority of developers using XQuery cited simplified XML data access and transformation as the top reason they use it. Nearly one-third said they use XQuery because it provides a more concise or easier syntax and programming style, while one-quarter said they use it mostly to unify heterogeneous data sources.

XQuery is seeing the most use in IT consulting, government and financial services and by ISVs, according to the study.

Kim said other solutions for working with data coded in XML are not as effective as XQuery, such as DOM (Document Object Model), proprietary extensions to SQL or XSLT (Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations).

"XQuery is important for two reasons: to aggregate information from multiple XML documents and extract information from them and also to simplify transformation," said Ronald Schmelzer, an analyst with ZapThink LLC, in Waltham, Mass.

Michael Ritchson, a senior systems architect and developer for Computer Sciences Corp. working on contract at NASAs Johnson Space Center Support Division, in Houston, said he uses XQuery "for extracting data from structured XML documents stored in an XML database. This process has dramatically improved the querying capabilities of our existing applications."

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