Interviewed in Dr. Dobbs Journal

Check out this interview with me, published this past Thursday, in Dr. Dobbs Journal, and entitled XML as a Content Platform.

Excerpt on history:

In essence, because RDBMSs date back to the 1960s and pure XML databases only date back to around 2000, the XML database vendors get the coveted chance to “start over” in designing a database system. So we can quickly incorporate a lot of the features put in RDBMSs over the past few decades while at the same time optimizing for XML.

Excerpt on XQuery:

Because XQuery was the DBMS community’s chance to start over and they took it. XQuery is superior to SQL for a number of reasons. It’s a full programming language, not just a data manipulation language. It handles XML natively, and XML is indeed becoming more and more pervasive.

Excerpt on “SQL is COBOL” to our kids:

Our kids will think of SQL the way that we think of COBOL. (“Daddy, do you mean you used a database language that assumed all data was stored in tables and didn’t natively understand XML?” “Yes, Muffin, and I used to have to sew my own clothes, too!”)

4 responses to “Interviewed in Dr. Dobbs Journal

  1. I love your “SQL is COBOL to our kids” quote. Thanks for bringing a smile to my face :-)I am part of the generation who learnt FORTRAN and COBOL in school, and love this analogy.Funny thing is though… COBOL continues to live in certain industries. And I recently read that, in the financial sectors, COBOL skills are commanding a significant premium because of the lack of skills among recent grads.Undoubtedly, organizations will migrate away from COBOL over time. But the decline is proving to be very gradual. Organizations do not embark on costly migrations/transitions easily.My best guess is that SQL, within the context of XML, is not going to die any time soon. Organizations have invested too much money in SQL skills, training, tooling, projects, etc. Especially when SQL has added extensions for working with XML.XQuery is a more powerful and expressive language for working with XML. However, given typical adoption curves in enterprise environments, I’m not sure that SQL will go the way of the dodo bird any time soon.

  2. Yep, I am aware the because all the COBOL programmers retired, you started seeing big market premiums for them. It started to happen about 10 years ago as I recall.But that fact doesn’t mean that COBOL has a future. It just means it’s dying slowly as does virtually everything in IT.My point, as I’m sure you know, is about trends and momentum. And while it will die slowly likely every other technology, I’m sure that SQL will die one day. It’s increasingly out of touch with the rest of the computing world.Inverting things, why some people seem to think that SQL and RDBMSs are the only technology that is immortal? Mainframes weren’t (unless you want try to the same old but some are still used today thing). Minis weren’t. COBOL wasn’t. Nor FORTRAN. Et cetera.Having lived a long time and being immortal are two different things.And by the way, I was a footsoldier in the SQL revolution, so I have nothing against it. Well, perhaps that it ain’t Quel, but that’s a different story.

  3. I promise… this will be my last off-topic post about COBOL :-) It’s just that there are some thought-provoking numbers that you may be surprised to hear:- A Computerworld survey found that 62% of IT managers actively use COBOL, and about 58% of those using COBOL are creating new programs.- Bill Ulrich of TSG Inc. claims that 5 Billion lines of COBOL code are added yearly.

  4. Anyone with further interest in discussing the bright future of COBOL can to to Conor’s blog at:

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