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XQuery: Secret weapon for the data integration specialist?

In an effort to simplify integration, some teams have tried new languages to deal with data. Has XQuery, a big part of the initial XML and Web services push, gotten lost in the shuffle? There is a lot of discussion these days about domain-specific languages. The idea is really not new. SQL, after all, was created to deal with some very specific data issues, and to do so at a high-level of abstraction that a broad group of developers could use. If you ask a C# developer or a Java developer what their second-most-used language is you can probably bet it is SQL.

XQuery arose over ten years ago to bring a SQL-style treatment to XML. As a recent story on XQuery shows, this query language is still looking for a foothold. Though he admits it is a bit of a sleeper, industry expert Peter O’Kelly, who appears in the ”A look at XQuery today”, says XQuery is ”a really powerful mechanism for working with collections of documents.”

As he portrays it, XQuery seems to have some of the benefits of other domain-specific languages. You need to write less code and thus have less work to maintain, he says. And, as with SQL, you can rely on the XQuery data base management system to optimize queries and shield developers from complexity.

O’Kelly suggests that one reason you don’t hear too much about XQuery is that some of its users treat it like a secret weapon.

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