XML Stores Get Richer Queries

Database vendors to add support for data retrieval through XQuery standard.

Native XML database developers X-Hive Corp., Excelon Corp., Ipedo Inc. and Software AG are adding more support in upcoming releases for emerging standards for such functions as querying.

Much of the focus for the developers with their latest crop of XML databases is on bolstering querying capabilities through the XQuery XML data retrieval standard. X-Hive, for example, last week began shipping Version 3.0 of its X-Hive/DB, which supports XQuery, said officials in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Separately, Excelon, in a point release to its Extensible Information Server, due next month, will add full XQuery support. Also in releases planned over the next year and a half, the Burlington, Mass., company aims to support the XForms standard for handling XML forms, officials said.

Ipedo, of Redwood City, Calif., is beefing up its current XQuery support. Version 3.1 of its namesake XML database, due next week, will be able to perform updates in the querying language. That release will also include support for the WebDAV, or Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning, protocol so documents from popular client applications can be published into the database server, officials said.

For its part, Software AG plans to add full XQuery support in the next major release of its Tamino XML Server, Version 4.11, due by the end of the year. That release will also include validation of XML Schema; enterprise-level backup and restore of the database; and improved tools for Web services features such as Universal Description, Discovery and Integration directories, said company officials, in Darmstadt, Germany.

All these companies are looking to extend their technological lead over Oracle Corp., IBM and Microsoft Corp., which offer XML add-ons and have plans to embed XML support deeper within their database engines.

For companies concentrating on XML—especially publishing and content-focused companies—having the latest XML features added by the pure XML database vendors is important. Andre Alguero, director of engineering at software developer GRX Technologies, said he had considered relational databases when looking for a data store for the Providence, R.I., companys applications. But they required mapping XML into relational tables, hurting performance. The native XML vendors (GRX uses Excelon) didnt have that overhead and were more willing to embrace standards, Alguero said.

"[With] XML, because its still emerging, theres a much greater need to stay current," Alguero said. "When the [standards] come current, you need the vendors to keep up."

Robert Catterall, director of strategic technology at Atlanta-based CheckFree Corp., has looked at pure XML databases but said he plans to look to IBM and Oracle once his company needs to store XML in databases.

"We try to hold down complexity and would rather not necessarily go with the installation, maintenance and management of a new piece of middleware if the existing middleware will do," Catterall said.

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