[xquery-talk] XQuery & BEA

Michael Carey mcarey at bea.com
Tue Aug 5 23:50:31 PDT 2003


I'm writing in response to recent discussion about BEA products and
their support for XQuery.  At BEA, I've been the manager of the group
that created the XQuery-based data transformation engine for the newly
launched BEA WebLogic Integration 8.1 product (which is a part of the
BEA Platform 8.1, of course) - and I'm now also the architect for BEA's
Liquid Data for WebLogic team, which is the team responsible for BEA's
XQuery-based data integration product offering.  (These two products
were originally developed by different teams at different times based
on very different use cases and requirements, by the way.  One uses
XQuery as a declarative language for transforming business messages as
they pass through an application integration/orchestration product.
The other uses XQuery as a view definition language and query language
for making an enterprise's distributed / disparate data look like a
virtual XML repository.)

The good news is that BEA is, to the best of my knowledge, the first of
the "big four" software vendors to ship generally available products based
on XQuery.  The bad news, however, is that XQuery is not yet a standard -
it changes every few months.  To ship a product, one therefore must pick
a snapshot of the language, build it, stabilize it, QA it, etc.  Someone
commented that our being on an older version of the XQuery spec must mean
that our XQuery engine is "pre-alpha" and not trustworthy.  Not so - in WLI,
for example, we tracked all XQuery spec changes up to the version released
11-12 months ago - then we decided to stabilize on that version of the
language for our alpha, beta, and GA - and to build out all the facilities
around it (transformation editor, XQuery source editor), to do QA on it,
and so on.  We plan to upgrade to XQuery 1.0 as soon after it's an official
spec as possible.  Right now, from what I'm hearing, it's likely to become
an official spec next spring, so if it stays on track, we should be able
to upgrade to XQuery 1.0 in the BEA Platform 9.0 timeframe.  Meanwhile,
BEA's Liquid Data product, which shipped earlier (late 2002), used a
slightly older version of the XQuery specification.  We expect to upgrade
Liquid Data's XQuery dialect in the same timeframe - both products will then
speak a common dialect, XQuery 1.0, with the same functions and operators,
etc., at that point.

Meanwhile, from our online documentation for these products, here's the
scoop on the accents with which our currently shipping products speak the
language XQuery:

WebLogic Integration (WLI) 8.1 -
  XQuery - August 2002:
  XQuery Functions and Operators - August 2002:

Liquid Data for WebLogic 8.1 (and earlier) -
  XQuery - December 2001:
  XQuery Functions and Operators - April 2002:

I hope this information will be helpful to those of you who are working with
these products.  (A suggestion for future discussions would be for folks to
indicate which product they're using - WLI and/or Liquid Data - since they
do have slightly different XQuery dialects at the moment.)

Mike Carey

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