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XML for Data Architects Designing for Reuse and Integration
by James Bean

Morgan Kaufmann
1 edition
June 2003
250 pages

Reviewed by Ajith Kallambella, September 2003
  (6 of 10)

In a nutshell, this book is all about understanding XML schemas. As the use of XML transactions to exchange, share, and move data among enterprise systems grows, enforcing data standards and structural efficiency plays a critical role for ensuring overall flexibility, robustness and extensibility.

The author starts the book with a discussion about various XML application scenarios and attempts to classify the use of XML data containers into three forms viz., a document, transaction or a message. He argues that any form of cross platform exchange and sharing of enterprise data falls in to one of the three.

He then convinces how the use of highly reusable structures and custom data types affects data architecture. If you are wondering, data architecture is a term used to describe XML structures that plumb disparate enterprise systems. Here are two new buzzwords - Application to Consumer (A2C) and Application to application (A2A). Since XML also used to describe data extracts from, insertions into, and exchanges between application systems and databases, it is important to understand variation in database data type support.

In the chapters that follow, XML schema is introduced as the singular standard for achieving maximum reusability and enforcing data standards. For each of the three XML usages, he quotes XML snippets and critiques on various approaches. The focus remains on a designing an XML schema for maximum reuse and extensibility.

The book should have been named as "XML Schema primer". Most of the chapters are dedicated to discuss application of XML schemas. The amount of material covering actual process, challenges and strategy recommendations to achieve optimal data architecture does not do any justice to the title.

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