When this newsletter series was launched, discussion of data
interoperability primarily centered on exchanging ASCII based files
between platforms or using vendor specific filters. Typical data access
techniques, such as ODBC, tightly couple the client to dependencies on a
specific platform, operating system, or API model language. The state of
the art could hardly be construed as true interoperability.
Unfortunately, we are now witnessing the rapid emergence of data access
standards that should completely shift the equation. The most important
of these standards is XML and SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol). I
will spare the reader yet another tutorial on the nature and importance
of XML and SOAP, as volumes of such information are available through
any Web search engine. However, in order to illustrate the nature of the
evolution, I want to simply underscore one implementation.
The Microsoft and Hyperion specification on XML for Analysis is a
SOAP-based XML API. It was developed to standardize designed the data
access interaction between a client applications and an OLAP and data
mining analytical data provider. The objective was to provide an
Internet oriented platform independent, and language independent
environment. As a stateless technology, data exchanges between the
server and targeted client is reduced.
While this example of XML extension is one of many, it is clear that
this real world type of implementation will transform client/server data
communication. XML and SOAP are absolutely mission critical technologies
to learn and employ.