[xquery-talk] actually, nobody KNOWS about XQuery ....

Ihe Onwuka ihe.onwuka at gmail.com
Tue Jun 23 12:13:53 PDT 2015

On Tue, Jun 23, 2015 at 2:04 PM, daniela florescu <dflorescu at me.com> wrote:

> Ihe,
> you asked why XQuery is not more popular.
I'd rather put it that I asked why people are so resistant to using it  for
the domain for which it is optimal (querying semi-structured data).

> Here is another striking answer to your question: NOBODY KNOWS IT EXISTS.
> Just look at this example.
> https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/sql-vs-discrepancy-somil-asthana?trk=hp-feed-article-title-like
> I quote: "Indisputably, there may be people who are working on Non
> Relational
>  Algebra and Non Tuple Relational Calculus, its just that we do not know
> them.”
This is where I take slight issue with G Ken Holman's post last week on
learning stuff, 99% of which I wholeheartedly agree with.

He said university taught him how to learn not what to learn but I think
going to university should give you an awareness of what you ought to know,
ergo it should have some bearing on what to learn. I did my degree as a
mature student. Before university  I would approach a problem by solving it
the tools I already knew, hence  I wrote a validation test harness in
VBScript that I later learned  could have been encoded as an XML Schema.

I also learned the skill of learning what not to learn.  Before university
I would learn a tool only to subsequently reflect that it is not something
that I shouldn't be using. Now I can sense it early on. I bought Norm
Matloff's the Art of R and by chapter 2 it was on it's way back to Amazon
Trade-Ins because it was stark staring obvious to me that this might be a
language for statisticians but it certainly wasn't one for a computer
scientist. This excellent talk pretty much ratifies all my hunches and I am
chuffed that I did not have to discover these things experentially.


It worries me when I hear that the likes of Oracle and (I think) IBM are
going to start pushing this language.

So returning to this chap. My initial instinct is that he is one of the
many statisticians and/or accountants running around  telling people how to
program (see previous remark about how IT has presided over it's
amateurisation). Alas his educational background is in computing so what we
have is a well educated fellow  who lacks awareness of what he ought to

This should not be that surprising though as people in this industry are
notorious for letting others do their thinking for them - hence
Thoughtworks have an audience for their pontifications  about what
technologies should be adopted when and other self appointed guru's
regularly surface on the WMD site taking on subjects way beyond the realm
of their actual expertise to a receptive uncritical audience.

> [[[Can someone just answer this guy, so I don’t have to insult him/her !?
> Because I feel a really strong urge….I’ll try to breathe and do some
> meditation….]]]
> In fact, I know that this is not his/her limitation.
> It’s our OWN failure to explain to the world what XQuery is, what it does,
> and what is good at.
For a language that was not meant to be specific to XML it got too tightly
coupled to it's initial concrete actualisation. Now that association is a
liability because of the effectiveness of JSON propaganda which keeps
giving the impression that you don't need any other format to an industry
in which too many people are happy to let others do their thinking for them.

Additionally too many devs are beholden to the Jedi Mind Trick of learning
and adopting  language libraries without realising that for the same effort
they could learn a DSL that would be much more powerful tool for the job at
hand  (and I don't just mean that wrt to data management).

> Best regards
> Dana
> P.S. And after that, please DON’T ask me why I am SO pissed off at
> MarkLogic who pretend they never ate the garlic, not does
> their mouth smell of garlic…..
> They MADE all their money out of the power of XQuery  (expressiveness,
> productivity, etc), yet they pretend they’ve never heard of it….
> That’s something that REALLY gets me angry.
> And this will come back to bait them on the business side very badly too.
> Oracle would have NEVER done the same thing about SQL…..just saying.
Quite possibly.  I mentioned before that IBM never bet against SQL when it
was pushing DB2 so it would not surprise me if MarkLogic's stance manifests
as a strategic error.
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