The document is the database

The document is the database.

When you need to store and display a modest amount of structured or semistructured data, it's tempting to store it directly in an HTML file. I've used this strategy many times; undoubtedly you have too. The advantages and disadvantages of working directly with a presentation format are pretty clear. It's handy that the “database” is a self-contained package that can be updated using any text editor, emailed, read directly from a file system, or served by any web server. But it's awkward to share the work of updating with other people or to isolate and edit parts of the file as it grows. When we convert to a database-backed web application in order to solve these problems, we trade away the convenience of the file-oriented approach. Can we have our cake and eat it too? This month's column explores the idea that a complete web application can be wrapped around an XHTML document, using XSLT for search, insert, and update functions. [Full story at O'Reilly Network]

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