Understanding XML Server

An XML Server can be a web host server that stores the XML files in it and serves them on demand. The XML Server would have processing capabilities with an XML engine and to transform the XML document to other forms. Basically a server which hosts and serves the XML documents is called a XML Server.


There are many commercially available XML Servers in the market. The popular among them are the Tamino Server, the Sonic Server and the FDX XML Server. Though the basic functions of these servers are same the way they are implemented and the features that they support varies.

The Tamino XML Server is from Software AG and is used to publish and exchange all kinds of data especially the XML documents in the native format. It handles open standards. Leveraging on the XML technologies will improve an organizations data access.

Exchange of data between different applications on different platforms is possible using XML technologies. Hence organizations are moving on to store their data in XML format to take advantage of the XML technologies. Storing the data in XML format improves the performance of delivery and scalability of your applications with low operational and administrative costs.

In traditional relational databases, data is stored in rows and columns which can be too complex. But in the case of an XML Server such complexity is avoided and any data can be stored which includes even multimedia files and even relational data. These data can be easily retrieved at lightning speed using a Tamino XML Server.

To retrieve data that is requested by any application, XQuery is used in Tamino XML Server. This server implements the XQuery specification draft. Hence queries on the server can be issued using the internet and data can be returned in any format by using XSL style sheets. Thus the customers can manipulate the format of presentation of the data that is presented using style sheets. High speed retrieval of data is possible in XML Server.

The Tamino XML Server is robust, reliable, and scalable. It is used in mission critical environments and there is almost no failure and loss of data. It is reliable in the sense it supports backup of data that can be stored in external devices or remote devices and used in clustered environments. The number of users can be increased and the load on the server can also be increased.

The document structure can take additional elements without changing the entire structure of the data store. These characteristics of the XML Server help it to be used in mission critical environments. Developers can develop XML applications very faster by using Tamino XML Server. It can be easily integrated with application servers.

FDX XML Server is another XML Server available in the market. This product is created by Snapbridge. This server is also used to create and deploy sophisticated XML applications. XSL, XSLT and scripts are supported in this server so that data can be transformed to any format requested by the user or any other application.

Sonic XML Server is another product from Sonic software which is built upon the native XML processing engine. This helps in pipelined processing of XML documents which eliminates the need for generating intermediate xml text file for processing. This improves the speed of the transaction dramatically.

This pipelined processing of the document helps in very large and complex processing tasks to improve the speed of those tasks. This supports XQuery, which is a powerful query language for XML documents. XSL and XSLT are supported which enables complex transformation of the documents and formatting of the documents for output. The in-built engine in the Sonic XML Server enables a user to store any size of XML document in it and to query, retrieve and update that data.

We have seen that an XML Server is any server that gives an XML document as an output so that the other applications can use it for processing. The document can be delivered in any format using XSL and XSLT engines. It is possible for us to write some code in ASP which will serve an XML document to the user when they view that ASP page. We can store this code in a web server and this code can be said to be a very simple XML Server since it serves the user with an XML document. Go through the code given below:

response.Write("<?xml version='1.0' encoding='ISO-8859-1'?>")
response.Write("<title>Developing an XML Server</title>")
response.Write("<author>Its You</author>")
response.Write("<description>The book outlines the steps involved in developing an XML Web Server</description>")

Save the above code in your web server as book.asp and store it in the same directory where you stored your other web pages. Then view that page in the browser to see an XML document in display. In the above code you may note that the content type for the page is set to “text/xml”. This is why the output is displayed as XML file. You may develop a little more complex program to retrieve data from a database and generate an XML document from the data retrieved from the database. Thus you can start developing your own XML web server.

For Enterprise applications which use XML technologies and XML data, we can go for a commercially built XML Server which can handle large amount of XML data. XML Servers like Tamino, Sonic and FDX are available commercially with lots of features that may be in line with the requirements of your enterprise.

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