Publishing and querying the histories of archived relational databases in XML

Wang, F; Zaniolo, C
Wang, F
Zaniolo, C
Web Information Systems Engineering
Citations range: 
10 - 49

There is much current interest in publishing and viewing databases as XML documents. The general benefits of this approach follow from the popularity of XML and the tool set available for visualizing and processing information encoded in this universal standard. In this paper, we explore the additional and unique benefits achieved by this approach on temporal database applications. We show that XML views combined with XQuery can provide surprisingly effective solutions to the problem of supporting historical queries on past content of database relations and their evolution. Indeed, using XML, the histories of database relations can be naturally represented by temporally grouped data models. Thus, we identify mappings from relations to XML that are most conducive to modeling and querying database histories, and show that temporal queries that would be very difficult to express in SQL can be easily expressed in standard XQuery. Then, we turn to the problem of supporting efficiently the storage and the querying of relational table histories. We present an experimental study of the pros and cons of using native XML databases, versus using traditional databases, where the XML-represented histories are supported as views on the historical tables.