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XML for Data Transfer

 
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Hi all,
I am still studying XML so sorry if this is redundant with a previous post--I'm still mucking through them one by one, as I try to make use of XML...
XML seems to be powerful in display purposes (describing content AND display, vs just display, eg HTML), but to me its true power seems to be in defining a common data transfer protocol. Obviously some developers have used it thus, and I am wondering if it has proven successful in this capacity (as data xfer protocol).
What I am really wondering is:
1) Has XML proven to be as easy as developing custom code to transfer data from one source to another, as say, developing custom code to go from CSV to some database format, for example?
2) What was the mechanism designed to initially describe the source data's content markup structure for the DTD? Was it able to be generic or does it always end up being custom definition of the data, ie is there a common tool for mapping datatypes/formats to XML or is a custom Java app to parse through the data a common way to go about defining the source data?
3) Once a given data transfer solution has been implemented in XML, has anyone had experience extending/using the data processing into yet another system, ie. truly taking advantage of the common format between more than just two entities? And was it straight-forward?
Any commentary on any of these questions would be truly appreciated,
OP
 
octavyn pittman
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Ok, let me put the above in another way...
Has anybody had personal experience with XML being a successful data transfer protocol between more than two systems? Has it proven successful in this capacity on an enterprise level to anyone's knowledge?
Just wondering,
OP
 
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Interesting question, why bother if it's just from one system to another. Of course, why wouldn't one bother?
My sole experience with something similar is a single xml source to which multiple subscribers are listening. There is no DTD. At first I thought this was good, because I could skip this step.
Trouble is, because there is no validation, the source changes to accomodate one listening system, then all the other listening systems need to accomodate (after they break).
This is obviously a mess and I think a DTD could clear things up. That way the guy that changes the source follows rules too.
However, right now it's just like someone sending you pipe-delimited data and all of the sudden sticking a field in the middle somewhere. Same old stuff, more bytes.
 
octavyn pittman
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It seems as though XML for data xfer needs to be coupled with some sort of data definition repository which either is automatically or religiously updated to keep more than one systems' "interfaces" in sync. Otherwise, like you said, the same old problem of suddenly changing a data structure on one system becomes the same old hassle as before. I guess that is why I am wondering if someone has automated this at an enterprise level somewhere... or if I am missing some critical understanding at the enterprise level...
However, I suppose that if XML serves as the protocol between systems, you definitely are better off than proprietary data formats being extracted from and input.
OP
 
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XML.org has a datadefinition repository for various application domains. This is perhaps the most popular, reliable and frequently updated website for DTD lookups.
If you haven't been there already, checkout the amazing collection at http://www.xml.org/xmlorg_registry/index.shtml
Hope that helps!
------------------
Ajith Kallambella M.
Sun Certified Programmer for the Java�2 Platform.
IBM Certified Developer - XML and Related Technologies, V1.
 
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