Database vs XML vs JSON - Montana Webmaster

Database vs XML vs JSON

Data Storage: A Case Study

My first tech job was with a company that created software to put periodicals online. Most of the people involved had been involved in the publication business, so we had domain knowledge and great contacts. Most of the technical work was the “seat of the pants” type scramble, but it was a good scramble because we cared about doing a good job.

One of the decisions that had to be made was how to store news and other content from the periodicals. It wasn’t just a storage place; the content had to be uploaded, stored and retrieved every time someone wanted to read a page. This was in the 1990s. The tech world has changed, but the questions of methods still go back to the basics every now and then: what is the best way to store data?

Understanding the Structure of the Data

At the start, data we needed to store was rather simple. Articles had 1) a title, 2) a byline (author info), 3) the article text. As far as the folks working for the periodical, that was the structure. For us, it was more complicated, because our software had to add HTML code to allow formatting for the viewers. So, besides a method of storing the data, we needed a way for the software to be able to tell the difference between the title, byline and text for formatting purposes.

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