Q:

Does implementation of XML require an XML server? Does conversion of standardized extract files from numerous sources e.g., Oracle, SQL Server, MS Access, flat files require an XML server? Additionally, what needs to be implemented in the applications architecture? Any "basics of XML" type summary material that you could direct me too would also be much appreciated.

A:

Les Barbusinski’s Answer: At a minimum you’ll need an XML editor and an XML parser. Then, depending on the type of application you’re trying to build, you may need additional tools such as XML SQL utilities, XML ODBC/JDBC utilities, XML class generators, XML converters, XSL engines, etc. In addition, you may have to activate and/or utilize XML/XSL extensions in your RDBMS(s), Web server(s) and middleware. The variety of tools is staggering, and every major (and minor) software vendor on the planet has offerings in this area.

Before you start, however, I would recommend that you do some homework. First read a book on XML basics, and another on how to integrate XML with other IT technologies to create robust application frameworks. There are lots of good books on the market, but here are a few that come to mind:

  • The XML Handbook - 4th Edition (2001) by Charles F. Goldfarb
  • Building Oracle XML Applications (1999) by Steve Muench
  • XML and Java: Developing Web Applications (2002) by Maruyama, et al
  • Vb.Net and XML (2002) by Rod Stephens & Brian Hochgurtel

When you’re ready to explore the cornucopia of XML tools on the market I’d recommend that you have an extended conversation with your shop’s primary RDBMS, Web server and middleware vendors. Most will offer XML developer kits and/or extensions to their software products, and one of them is bound to offer exactly what you need. You may also want to visit the "Free XML Tools and Software" Web site (www.garshol.priv.no/download/xmltools) for a comprehensive list of available XML "freeware."

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