The future of XML documents and relational databases

Jon Udell discusses the future of XML documents and relational databases. Good article on the changes happening in the RDBMS world where every Vendor is including more support for XML. The article also discusses the XML document Workflow and how in the process XML enhances the data by carrying contextual metadata.

Imagine a purchase order flowing through a business process some time in 2005. It's an XML document, created with a tool such as InfoPath, carrying a mixture of core data and contextual metadata. The core data, including the item number and department code, will wind up in the columns of a relational table. The contextual metadata, which might include a threaded discussion made from comments injected by the requester, the reviewer, and the approver, will remain in document form. "This human context is never stored in the RDBMS today," says Kingsley Idehen, CEO of Burlington, Mass.-based OpenLink. Yet it's the key to understanding how the data got there and what it means.