ERX: An Experience in Integrating Entity-Relationship Models, Relational Databases, and XML Technologies

Giuseppe Psaila

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Abstract:

The need for managing large repositories of data coming from XML documents is increasing, in particular to support new EDI applications and information systems which provide e-commerce functionality. In fact, XML is emerging as the standard format for documents exchanged over the internet; then information systems will have to deal with XML documents, both incoming and outcoming. This is an exciting research area, because new technologies are arising, such as XSLT, but former and rather stable technologies, such as relational DBMSs, still have to play an important role. It is clear that novel information systems will integrate different technologies, but at the moment it is not clear how. This paper reports about our experience in developing the ERX Data Management System, a system devised to collect data coming from different XML data sources, and store them into a database in a way independent of the source format; its query language, named ERX-QL, is able to query the database and generate new XML documents. We developed the ERX Data Management System to explore the possibility of integrating three different basic technologies, Relational DBMS, Java and XSLT, under a unifying framework which makes the system interoperable w.r.t. the particular adopted technology (for example Relational vs Object-Oriented database technology); hence, this framework is based on an Entity-Relationship-like Data Model (ERX), which is not tied to any specific technical and/or commercial solution. The paper discusses the architecture of the ERX system, and the adopted technical solutions.

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Keywords: ERX (Entity-Relationship for XML)0.9;

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