Businesses that want to use XML to organize documents or Web pages will find Ixiasoft Inc.s TextML Server 2.0 a good tool for the job. However, its lack of standard database features means it isnt well-suited for general data management tasks.
In tests, after eWeek Labs imported a group of XML files into TextMLs document repository, the server automatically parsed them, building indices for XML element names, element values and attribute values we had specified. We could then query across all XML files in the system using TextMLs query language, with results returned as XML-formatted string data.
New in this release of TextML is support for numeric (integer and decimal) data, a major step forward in query flexibility.
Released this fall, TextML 2.0 costs $10,000 per server and runs on Windows NT and Windows 2000.
TextML has no update features other than the ability to remove and readd an XML file to its repository. TextML will be cumbersome to use for those who need to update information frequently.
Another drawback to TextML is that it requires conversion of input data into XML format. Ixiasofts separate TextML Publisher includes TextML Server, as well as import filters for common document formats. There is no relational database connectivity to combine XML data with relational database data, making it difficult to integrate TextML data with related data stored elsewhere in an organization.
On the other hand, TextML stores XML documents exactly as submitted, preserving features such as element ordering and XML comments that are discarded when XML files are parsed and stored in relational databases. We could also store arbitrary, non-XML data in the system (including images), although these cant be searched.
Shops looking for more database features in an XML product will find them in Software AGs Tamino, which is a much more sophisticated product, supporting updates, transactions and a gateway to SQL databases. However, Tamino is much pricier than TextML—$25,000 per CPU on Windows and $40,000 per CPU on Solaris.
TextML comes with an administration console that let us create indices and view stored XML documents, but most interaction with the software is through its programming interfaces, accessible through a series of Microsoft Corp. COM (Component Object Model) objects.
Building indices of XML data is the key administrative task in TextML. We could build indices using forms of the administration tool or just submit a command in XML to create the index. TextML uses an XPath-like syntax to specify which XML elements and attributes in an XML hierarchy should be indexed.
TextMLs queries are written in a simple XML format and allow standard Boolean, string wildcard and string proximity operators.
eWeek Labs West Coast Technical Director Timothy Dyck can be reached at [email protected]