2 min read

SQL and XML are not that different

About a year ago, I had presented my 8th semester presentation on Xen, now called C Omega. It is a language that combines SQL, XML and OOP into one tight language. The paper that proposed this language was named Programming with Circles, Triangles and Rectangles. The circle represents the encapsulation behavior of objects and OOP, the triangle represents the tree structure of the XML and the rectangle represents the tabular structure of databases.

Video of Anders Hejlsberg talking about C# 3.0

I recently came across Anders Hejlsberg’s interview on Channel 9 regarding programming data in C# 3.0 and it looks like C-Omega is going to be ‘merged’ into 3.0. Its amazing that MS has taken this concept (which seemed totally radical to me when I first read about it) to production quality and is actually going to make this a core part of their platform.

Let us consider an example of using C-Omega. Suppose you want to handle books in a program used to manage libraries. Then you could write a book class using C-Omega as

public class book {
 sequence {

string title;
choice {
  sequence{ editor editor; }+;
  sequence{ author author; }+;
string publisher;
int price;

 attribute int year;

The cool part is that the above same class can be used to store the data either as XML or in a relational database. You can also instantiate an object using XML syntax:

book b =
 A Byte of Python

<first>Swaroop</first><last>C H</last>


Note that this syntax is still static typing. Needless to say, the C-Omega compiler must be one heck of a monster.

The Python connection is that the C-Omega-ish method of access will probably be included into IronPython at some stage. Even if that doesn’t happen, we already have Pythonic ways of doing XML as pointed out long ago by wspace.

If you have ever written a program that uses databases, I highly recommend reading the Circles, Triangles and Rectangles paper. It just might change the way you think about databases and SQL, or even XML for that matter.

You can also download that old presentation of mine on Xen.