XML is a hot topic in just about any computing circle these days. The thing that most people don’t realize, buzzwords aside, is that XML is not a magic bullet. Instead, XML is simply a data format that many programs know how to read and/or write. By itself, XML is nothing more than text. But, interwoven with the hundreds (if not thousands) of tools available, XML is a powerful medium for data exchange.
XML’s strength lies in the fact that once you have your data in XML format, you are free of the burdens of proprietary file formats and can slice and dice the data any way you want to.
This book is about databases, not about what you can and can’t do with XML. So, instead of throwing a bunch of XML-type applications at you, we cover a short, simple application that dumps one of our databases into an XML format.
When you are ready to transform your XML data into whatever you need to, get Elliotte Rusty Harold’s XML Bible (Hungry Minds [now Wiley Publishing], 2001, ISBN 0-7645-4760-7). It’s a great resource that shows you the true power of what you can do with XML data.