Insights Blog

How you can work with XML with Exasol

Exasol can work with more than just flat files – our latest video shows it happily working with XML files over a web service.

So why is my latest instructional video all about how you connect the BBC News website to Exasol?

I can’t think of a single reason anybody would actually want to do exactly this, but it does illustrate a few points that are maybe not entirely clear in Exasol’s existing messaging.

Source data does not need to be in “flat” delimited files

My video demonstrates how you can work with XML using a laughably simple Python function – and the reason I know that it is a laughably simple function is that it took me 10 minutes to write it, and I’m very far from being a Python Ninja.

The same approach works for any kind of file format – for example JSON, AVRO etc. – and the only reason I chose Python for the function language is because I knew that Python has a good XML library. If Java, R or Lua are more to your taste, then you could equally have used them instead.

Source data does not need to be “landed”

We have a great fast loader that can indeed load data from a flat file in parallel and faster than anything else on the planet. What is less well publicised is that it can load flat file data from an FTP or HTTP location or database data from another Exasol instance, Oracle or any other database using JDBC.

In the video, I’ve extended this even further by showing that you can even work with complex data structures from a web service, mixing this data with “normal” database data and adding it to your database if it makes sense to do so.

This opens up a whole world of applications – no longer do you need to convert rich data formats into flat files and “stage” them before loading to the database. With Exasol, you can work with the source data directly – keeping it in the original format and keeping it in its original place until it makes sense to add it to the database.

I created this demo using our free small business edition (FSBE), so I know that it contains everything you need to get a quick “Proof of Concept” up and running with your data.

Have a go! Let’s see what you can do with Exasol that is impossible or darned difficult using your existing database.


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