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A Time Machine for XML

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    Publication properties
    Title: A Time Machine for XML
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    Date: 2011
    Publication type: Technical report
    Authors:
    No. First name Last name Show
    1. Ghislain Fourny
    2. Daniela Florescu
    3. Donald Kossmann
    4. Markos Zaharioudakis
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    Venue
    Department of Computer Science, Technical Report, no. 734, ETH Zurich, 2011.

    Abstract

    With sinking storage costs, it becomes more and more feasible, and popular, to retain past versions of documents and data. While undoing changes is worthy, this becomes even more valuable if the data is queryable. Nowadays, there are two widespread version control paradigms: document versioning (SVN, git, etc.) and versioned databases. The former handles any kind of document, even binary, but only sees lines of text, so that the query capability is limited. The latter provide fine-grained temporal query capabilities on highly structured data - but storing everything in a relational database is not desirable. The goal of this paper is to provide a unified framework for efficiently versioning, querying and updating not only data and documents, but also, inbetween, any kind of semi-structured information, like XML. We start with the XQuery programming language and meticulously extend its data model, its syntax and its processing model to make it seamlessly time-aware. We provide data structures and algorithms for the efficient implementation of such a versioning system. Finally, we show that there is no significant performance loss for traditional queries when enriching an existing engine with versioning capabilities.