Jon Udell (InfoWorld) writes about the coming marriage of the two:
Now that XML can represent both the documents that we see and touch — such as purchase orders — and the messages that exchange those documents on networks of Web services, it’s more critical than ever that our databases can store and manage XML documents.
Most of the information in an enterprise lives in documents kept in file systems, not in relational databases. There have always been reasons to move those documents into databases — centralized administration, full-text search — but in the absence of a way to relate the data in the documents to the data in the database, those reasons weren’t compelling. XML cinches the argument.
As business documents morph from existing formats to XML — admittedly a long, slow process that has only just begun — it becomes possible to correlate the two flavors of data. Consider an insurance application that stores claims data in a relational table and claims documents in XML. A hybrid SQL/XML database enables the application to extract fragments of XML from a subset of the documents. And that subset can be created by joining XML elements in the document with column values in relational tables.
We’ve developed a utility called “Events Horizon” which can interface to any ODBC-compliant database and generate an RSS feed for specific events. So, I could set up a SQL-query on the database for something I want to track regularly and then get the RSS events resulting from that feed delivered to me in my news reader.