[xquery-talk] Izzit Bcos I is functional?

daniela florescu dflorescu at me.com
Tue Jun 16 09:03:08 PDT 2015


based on my own personal experience, I could give you the long version of the answer and the short version
of the answer.

I’ll start with the short one.

And I will start with the NON-reason for the non-sucess of Xquery.

1. No, it’s not because it’s functional. 

Even though, because it’s functional, it will be restricted to be used only by people with CS degrees, and not by
random Joes and Janes who write web sites. The way it is designed it is intended to make a population of educated programmers
ETREMELY efficient, and NOT to increase the  total number of developers to hundreds of millions.

When being reproached this fact in the past, my answer was always the same: building a database application should not be for the uneducated.
It’s like building a 30 story building, you don’t do that without a architect ad a structural engineer.
E.g. if you want to eradicate a grave neurological disease, you don’t lower the bar to allow anyone from the street to perform a neurosurgery, 
you just make the existing neurosurgents more productive.

And BTW, XQuery (like any programming language in 2015) should not be written by hand, by mostly automatically generated by tools, so at the end, 
who cares if it is functional or not.

2. It’s not because academia doesn’t pay attention.

That’s not true. Almost every database class I know finishes with teaching the students XQuery. I taught full XML/XQuery classes myself in both Stanford and Berkeley
and the students loved it. It is true that most database professors themselves don’t understand XML and XQuery, but that’s another story……


Here would be my FIRST real reason:

1. XQuery CANNOT be more successful then the problem that it tries to solve, which is XML processing. 

XML itself is not successful.Period. 
There is no money in XML. Period. 

There is a USE CASE in XML as documents, but not enough money in this market. 

And XML as data is a total flop. XML is hated and avoided by the developers like hell. And that, for good reasons.

So, why wouldn’t they use XQuery, when they don’t want to see the face of XML in the first place !?

So, you see,  it would be unreasonable to expect that XQuery is successful in places where XML is hated.

E.G. MarkLogic after 14 years of existence barely managed to pass 100M revenue. DatasTax after 3 years
of existence is at more then 300M revenue (and less investment from VCs).

It’s … XML vs. JSON. Documents vs. data. 

So…. I think it is simply a question of …. there is no market for XML ……(aka no enough MONEY in the market).

(there are plenty of other reasons, of course, but I think this is the main one..)


The only way for the ideas behind XQuery to become successful is trough JSON and a language like JSONiq.

Because there IS enough money in the market behind JSON…

That’s my short answer.

I can send you the longer answer, maybe later.


> On Jun 16, 2015, at 1:20 AM, Michael Kay <mike at saxonica.com> wrote:
> Yes, it’s the wrong place to ask. But my guess would be:
> (a) XSLT is well entrenched for doing many of the jobs that could also be done with XQuery.
> (b) Lots of programmers, given a new job to do, prefer to use the tools they know, such as Java, PHP, or C#, rather than learning a specialized tool
> (c) In the database arena, there is strong corporate resistance to increasing the variety of database technology in use within an enterprise.
> (d) Resistance in some quarters to using XML as the automatic solution for long-term storage of “semi-structured data”.
> These are actually all (at least in some cases) legitimate objections; but they are all compounded by fear of the unknown (which is also legitimate).
> Don’t assume that failure to adopt XQuery is because of resistance to adopting XQuery. The reason I haven’t adopted Erlang isn’t because I’m resistant to it; I’ve just never had a requirement that caused me to think “It’s time I considered Erlang as the solution to this problem”. There are an awful lot of good technologies competing for attention out there and no one has time to look at them all.
> Michael Kay
> Saxonica
>> On 16 Jun 2015, at 08:21, Ihe Onwuka <ihe.onwuka at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Probably the wrong place to ask but what are the prime factors behind the resistance to adopt XQuery or it's derivatives thereof as a technology for querying and manipulating semi-structured data.
>> _______________________________________________
>> talk at x-query.com
>> http://x-query.com/mailman/listinfo/talk
> _______________________________________________
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