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Registered: Apr 2001
Location: New York
Posts: 492

Xen: solving the impedance mismatch?

Recently we've been looking for a good way to map XML data to Java objects and vice versa. Although this can be done with DOM, jdom and dom4j, it would be nice if it wasn't necessary to write so much glue code.

The process of moving data from an SQL database to objects and then to XML, or back in the opposite direction, highlights what has been called the 'impedance mismatch' problem.

While there are emerging frameworks for making the XML to object mapping process easier, there is still no dominant solution to this problem.

The Java Community Process has produced the JAXB specification and a reference implementation.

Another alternative is JiBX from sourceforge.net and XMLBeans from the Apache XML project.

However, it seems that some researchers at Microsoft understand the impedance mismatch problem very well.

In what appears to be a deliberate leak, a research paper on a new Microsoft language called Xen was published on the web:

Programming with Circles, Triangles and Rectangles

Xen addresses the impedance mismatch by creating a language that unifies access to objects, XML,and SQL. This looks like exciting stuff and directly addresses the impedance mismatch by making the language itself handle XML and SQL data as easily as objects.

James Strachan, author of dom4j, one of the nicest Java XML DOM interfaces, and author of Groovy, a Java scripting language, groks Xen:


If he puts in Xen-like features into Groovy, as he is proposing on the Groovy wiki, then it may be possible to solve the impendance mismatch problem (Circles, Triangles and Rectangles) in the Groovy language itself:


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