Relational Model versus XML

  • arthurolcot (1/24/2013)

    Hugo Kornelis (1/24/2013)

    I think the correct answer should be worded slightly differently: "Either one can be appropriate" (italics used to emphasize changed part).

    If forced to make a choice based on the limited information given, my second choice would be a relational design with some XML columns for the less- and un-structured data.

    (My first choice would be to first read the documentation and conduct some interviews)


    I think there is a missing answer "Both together is appropriate" which I feel is probably the correct answer based on the poor question. In reality you would probably have a mostly relational database with some XML as required for some of the unstructured content. As such I went for relational and got it wrong as I wouldn't choose a pure XML repository to drive a website. You need a fair bit of data stored relationally. I don't mind getting questions wrong as it helps you to learn, but this is a pretty bad question...

    These were my exact thoughts - you may wish to use either but would probably end up using both in reality. This would be the tactic favoured by many CMS e.g. Umbraco, which might be used to drive such a site. I got it right though as none of the wrong answers were really feasible in my head at least even if the right one was not totally plausible.

  • Got this question wrong!

    But yes there is a scope for improvement. Either question could have provided more details or answer choices could have been framed better (as pointed out by Hugo).


    ~ Lokesh Vij

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  • Stuart Davies (1/24/2013)

    Got it right as I thought that "either" was the most probable answer.

    Like most people are saying here I think the real answer is "it depends".

    "It depends" was the option I was looking for!

  • Interesting that we currently have four people who picked "neither". I suppose it could all be done in Excel, but.......

  • This was a fun guessing question 😀

    I first wanted to say XML, because it is like the odd one out and the books online usually use universities in their XML examples..

    But then I thought that XML is going to cause a BIG debate, so I trusted the poster will allow everyone for their own opinion 😛

  • Hugo Kornelis (1/24/2013)

    I think the correct answer should be worded slightly differently: "Either one can be appropriate" (italics used to emphasize changed part).

    Exactly - it depends on the specific requirements. A slight rewording of the answer makes it a good question.

  • You live in the US and need to attend a meeting in Europe. What do you do?

    1. Buy a plane ticket?

    2. Buy a canoo and paddle across the Atlantic?

  • What just happened?

  • @Nils Gustav:

    Not a good analogy because one option is only applicable under extremely unlikely circumstances (e.g. you cannot fly due to a medical condition but you have the time and the capacity to paddle across the Atlantic).

    A better analogy would be:

    You live in New York (NY) and need to attend a meeting in Columbus (Ohio). What do you do?

    1. Fly

    2. Drive

    3. Neither are appropriate

    4. Either one can be appropriate

    One option is more likely for most people, but there are circumstances where the other is applicable (e.g. you need to take a lot of equipment with you). So either one can be appropriate, depending on the specific requirements.

  • Too subjective, really. I was lucky to have guessed correctly. More details were required to make an informed decision. Where was the "It depends" option? 😛

    There are no special teachers of virtue, because virtue is taught by the whole community.

  • Yay! I guessed correctly in the guessing game for a change!

    My first thought was.... something like Sharepoint which is basically a relational model with xml.

    Since both wasn't an option, I took the one that said either would work.

    Didn't like the answer, but it seemed most appropriate.

    --Mark Tassin
    MCITP - SQL Server DBA
    Proud member of the Anti-RBAR alliance.
    For help with Performance click this link[/url]
    For tips on how to post your problems[/url]

  • This question does seem to be bringing up a nice discusion. Hopefully that was the idea of it and not to say that with little knowledge about the business and the load on which this system will have, which design would be best.

    I agree with Koen and the others for the main puporse of performance. You can create database designs in many different flavors but it all comes down to performance and scalablity.

  • The question did say "the relational model or XML". I guessed that a relational database model would most likely be appropriate, applying XML as needed. I'm not going to be too critical of someone else's question, though, until I've posted one or two myself. 🙂

  • Yes slightly 'loose' question but it gets you thinking. I answered either, as the structure of data for such things as 'admissions' would probably lend itself to a relational solution, and something such as 'news' possibly more an xml solution. Hard to say for sure without the data specs though.

    Dave Morris :alien:

    "Measure twice, saw once"

  • Given the data available, I fell back to the ol' standby answer of N'It depends,' and translated that into the available answer. 🙂

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