When XQuery is approved, vendors that adhere to the standard will enable their products to work with related products from any software developer. A common standard will also enable products to fully take advantage of the benefits of XML, which tag information on the Web and in software applications in a particularly descriptive manner so that information can be exchanged in a much more accurate and flexible way.
Because growing amounts of business information now reside on XML-based public and private Web sites, and because XML is a becoming a de facto standard for information exchange, businesses are now trying to place XML-based information in relational databases and make information available in XML form. Putting them in databases, instead of simple file systems, enables businesses to much more efficiently retrieve and analyze greater amounts of more meaningful information that can help them run their company or gain a competitive edge.
Currently, placing queries to XML-tagged business information in databases requires proprietary code that either doesn't take full advantage of the XML format or cannot be used consistently.
As it did with developing SQL an industry-standard way of accessing two-dimensional tabular information from relational databases IBM is now helping to establish a standard for tapping XML information in databases. SQL was not designed to understand natively understand hierarchical information, such as organizational charts, and sequential data, such as chapters in a book, contained in XML documents. XQuery, the standard that IBM is now helping to shape, enables users to cast a wider, more accurate net when looking for specific information. The adoption of XQuery in IBM's DB2 family of information management products is one of the objectives of IBM's information integration strategy, which is producing technology that will make information, wherever and however it resides in the enterprise, available on demand to businesses, their customers, partners and suppliers.
For instance, Xquery will be adopted by IBM DB2 Information Integrator, which lets businesses unify, integrate and search the scattered repositories and formats of historical and real-time information as if they were a single database. DB2 Information Integrator will help users tap information in both structured formats, such as traditional databases with information represented in rows and columns; as well as unstructured formats, such as text documents, multimedia and email. XQuery will also be built into DB2 Universal Database itself as well as DB2 Content Manager.
W3C is where XML was born, and where the XML family of specifications continues to develop, including XQuery. The XML Query working group, comprised of IBM and Microsoft, is part of W3C's XML activity. In concert with the W3C XML core working group, the W3C XML schema working group and the W3C XSL (extensible stylesheet language) working group, they have been hard at work to create specifications that make for a solid, interoperable and broadly implemented XML infrastructure.
The family of XML Query specifications are fast approaching last call. Last call is the phase in the W3C process where the working group believes its work is mostly done, and they ask other W3C working groups to make sure that their specs are taken into account, correctly referenced and are interoperable.
The test suite contribution then can be seen as laying the groundwork for a formal W3C XQuery Test Suite, which helps all XQuery application developers test their own work. As these have been given to the working group, it also allows for the working group to have final say on what tests correctly interpret the working group specifications.
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