View Full Version : Should I use a table or XML for not-necessarily tabular data?

03-23-2009, 07:56 PM
First, let me lay the ground work.
I am going to have a "Part Work Screen" (php) pulling info from our database (stock levels, quote/sales history, etc).
This is all tabular data, so I know that a DB is the best place for that info, but
I will also be pulling series level data, and this isn't inherently tabular.

(please keep in mind that I'm a bit of a noob.)


<pdf link/>
<pdf link/>
<photo link/>
<photo link/>
<photo link/>
The series info will be simple, but can have anywhere from zero-to-many links of one type, regardless of whether it has zero-or-many links of another type.
It seems to me that using a table would kinda be like "wasting space".

Am I correct in thinking that XML would be best suited for this?
Note: For starters, there are probably about 15k different series representing about 65k part numbers. This will continue to grow.
I can, however, parcel out the XML and have a separate data-island for each PN Category (ie: machines, people, animals) if size tends to be a hurdle for XML.

I'm looking for some advice and/or suggestions from the seasoned pro's (or anyone with something to add).

~ Mo

NOTE: Realizing I may get a slightly biased opinion or two, I will also post this in the XML group to see what kind of biased opinions I can milk out of them :) , then reconcile everything together.

Old Pedant
03-23-2009, 09:33 PM
But how will you MAINTAIN the XML??

If it's truly static (never changing) data, then sure, go the XML route. Or, heck, just make an HTML file that you include.

But if it's updated even as often as once a month, I would think you would want a DB for the inherent editing capabilities. Now, what you might do is *both*. After editing the DB, you run private set of code (web or standalone) to generate the XML file. But if you edit the DB often, then I'd just go straight DB and/or DB-to-XML-on-the-fly.