M/DB:X - Lightweight Native XML Cloud Database

This is a brand new concept: an XML Database that's simple and easy to use, entirely accessed via HTTP/REST, and ready for use in the Cloud. There's nothing else like it out there, and it's ready to turn the whole idea of handling and storing XML on its head!

It's called M/DB:X, it's already released and it's ready for use. You can get all the details at http://www.mgateway.com/mdbx.html.

So what, in a nutshell, is M/DB:X?

It's an XML database for the Cloud.

What does that mean? Well, it's a set of REST services that allow you to create and manipulate persistent XML Document Object Models (DOM). You can import XML Documents either as a stream of XML that you send to it in a REST request, or you can ask M/DB:X to fetch a file over the Internet, perhaps from an Amazon S3 bucket.

Alternatively you can build a DOM from scratch, starting with an empty shell containing just a single tag to which you add new tags using simple REST requests.

So what? It can store XML? What's the big deal?

Well, once a DOM is created in M/DB:X you can:

* Display it using the outputDOM Action. The XML document is returned in the HTTP response
* Search the contents of the document using XPath queries
* Inspect the properties of its nodes
* Modify the properties of its nodes
* Add new nodes
* Remove existing nodes
* Transform a document in any way you like using a combination of the above
* And, of course, finally delete the document

..all using simple REST requests.

There are, of course, Native XML Database out there already, but what differentiates M/DB:X is two key things:

- its simplicity. M/DB:X disposes of most of the formality and complexity normally associated with handling XML

- you access it using HTTP/REST requests and it returns its responses as XML.

Basically it's like Amazon SimpleDB meets XML in the Cloud!

All the other Native XML Databases are heavyweight and very formal affairs, built around the concept of XML being validated against a schema and with rigorous adherence to XML namespacing rules.

M/DB:X throws all that away and takes the "good enough" approach, simplifying the concept right
down. Much as SimpleDB provides a place where you can throw together spreadsheet-like databases without any need for pre-defining a schema or indexes, M/DB:X allows you to quickly and easily throw together XML documents and play around with them in any way you like.

M/DB:X also bucks the trend by using a non-validating parser. Basically you can throw anything that looks vaguely like XML at M/DB:X and it will do its best to turn it into an XML DOM. It won't return errors and it won't complain that what you gave it doesn't conform to a particular schema or that it wasn't properly structured XML. If it can turn it into a DOM, it will.

This will have the XML gurus out there wailing and gnashing their teeth of course! So why's this a cool thing and not a problem?

Well, for example, it means that you can get it to import "lazy" structured HTML pages from any URL you like and it will tidy it up as best it can and turn it into an XML DOM for you. Once it's done that for you, you can analyse that page, take bits out of it, find stuff in it, all using proper XML techniques and XPath queries instead of hacking about with the raw page text.

Relax, however: give M/DB:X a properly structured valid XML document and it will produce the DOM you'd expect!

Speed, simplicity, ease of operation and near-zero administration are the objectives of M/DB:X.

It's a simple-to-install extension to the M/DB Virtual Appliance, so you can be up and running in no time at all.

XML databases just got simple! Go and check it out!

Oh, and did I mention: M/DB:X is free Open Source software.


Slipstream Workshop - July 2nd

On Thursday 2nd July there will be a Slipstream Workshop at our offices in Shepperton. It will be an informal day where anyone involved in Slipstream projects, or interested in getting involved, can get together in one room to share ideas and plans.

George James Software will be providing the room, the coffee and pizza. The rest is up to you. There will be no advanced agenda other than a start time of 10am. The plan for the day will be worked out by those who attend.

Everyone involved in a Slipstream project, or interested in getting involved, is invited to attend. If you have some ideas that are not part of a project at the moment but you think would be relevant to the goals of Slipstream, then please do come along and share your ideas.

Let me know if you think you'll attend just so we know how much coffee to brew.


Date: Friday 3rd July
Start time: 10am
Venue: George James Software, 42-44 High Street, Shepperton, Middlesex, TW17 9AU
Travel Directions

World wide web @ 20

March 13th was the 20th anniversary of the very first paper, by Tim Berners-Lee, describing the World Wide Web.

There was a conference at CERN on this date to celebrate this anniversary and to look forward to the next 20 years. I was lucky enough to be present and took the opportunity to ask Tim about scalability.

His reply is all here on film. Note his final comments, if anyone has studied this problem then he'd like to hear from them.

M/DB is now Open Source

Hot on the heels of our release of EWD as an Open Source product, we're now doing the same with M/DB, releasing it as a Free Open Source product licensed under the GNU Affero General Public License Version 3.

A new build of the M/DB Virtual Appliance is now available for download. This contains full source code for M/DB in the directory /usr/local/gtm/ewd. The names of the M/DB Mumps routines are prefixed "MDB".

By releasing M/DB as Open Source software, we're hoping that others will assist in extending its capabilities. Areas where additional effort would be welcomed include:

- emulating the new Select action that has been added to SimpleDB
- backup and other maintenance facilities, packaged as REST services

The new release includes the new Free Open Source standalone m_apache gateway. You should notice a significant increase in performance: M/DB is now blindingly fast!

We hope you all enjoy the new Free Open Source M/DB, a product that showcases the internet-scale capabilities of Mumps technology, and its pre-eminence as a schemaless, hierarchical database.

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