December 2002 Issue
DataDirect Technologies' new jXTransformer is an XML software component that offers a simple, consistent approach to transforming data between relational and XML formats in Java programs by creating XML from relational data or updating relational data from an XML input (see Figure 1). By using jXTransformer, you can circumvent database vendors' proprietary tools that require specific knowledge of complex XML extensions and work with only a single RDBMS. jXTransformer allows you to code once and use the code across multiple databases. It uses a language that is similar to the new draft of the SQL/XML standard, giving you a convenient method to implement XML functionality and letting you focus on your applications' core requirements.
Corporations are increasingly using XML to exchange data for Web services deployment, and DataDirect Technologies is looking to meet their need for a simple and consistent way to expose relational data to XML applications. In an effort to meet this need, database vendors often provide complex, proprietary tools that work only for their own databases-tools that are often available only with the latest releases of those databases. Instead, the jXTransformer solution aims to gives you a tool that eliminates the need to go through time-consuming, expensive database upgrades.
"Organizations have a tremendous amount of data in Oracle, DB2, SQL Server, etcetera, and as they begin to deploy true Web services, XML documents are a very, very effective means for transmitting data from one stage of a Web service to the next stage. And if you could have a situation where data could be retrieved from a relational database and placed in an XML document, and if data when it was updated as part of an XML document could be put back into its 'official' relational data store, that's the driving factors behind the jXTransformer technology," said Paul Hessinger, chief marketing officer for DataDirect Technologies.
Key features of jXTransformer include read and write access to relational databases supported by the DataDirect Connect for JDBC driver or DataDirect SequeLink JDBC driver and the means to create simple or complex hierarchical XML documents and XML document fragments. The product supports Java API for XML Parsing (JAXP) 1.1, Document Object Model (DOM) level 2, JDOM 1.0 beta 7, Simple API for XML (SAX) 2, XPath 1.0, and reader/writer object interfaces for use by Java Database Connectivity (JDBC) applications. It also supports Document Type Definitions (DTDs), XML schemas, namespaces, and CDATA. It tracks the evolving SQL/XML and XQuery standards, and according to the company's documentation, DataDirect Technologies is committed to conform fully with these standards when they become final.
"Organizations are looking for consistent, native XML support that incorporates the massive investments that they've made in their relational databases, be it DB2, be it SQL Server, be it Oracle," said Hessinger. "I mention those three because each of those vendors have done some very significant XML-based work within their products, but that's where we get into the age-old problem with standards, in that, the problem with a standard is everybody's got their own version of it and thus far IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle have not truly implemented XML in a completely consistent way." According to Hessinger it is for this reason that jXTransformer advances the company's heritage of taking a standard and building a consistent offering on that standard.
jXTransformer is available for purchase for $2,500 and can be downloaded at DataDirect Technologies' Web site. A support subscription for one year can be purchased separately.
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