There seems to be a lot of noise lately about "ROX".  Relations, Objects, and XML.  Several interesting opinions and thoughts – and even some research. 


Working for the Microsoft data access team (first MDAC, then SqlXml, and now ObjectSpaces) for several years now, I can tell you we have been doing a lot of thinking about world of ROX.  PDC 2003 is all about showing the cool new data access frameworks, but more importantly - it is all about explaining and reconciling this, this, this, and this.  With flexibility and extensibility comes complexity, but I believe PDC we have a good start at providing a data access roadmap.  But that will only be a start...


In my opinion we are far from being done.  As a developer using data access, I think one really needs the option to use any part or combination of ROX data access in a given application to solve a diverse set of development problems.  For example Xml for the protocol layer, Objects for complicated business logic, and relational access for performance and control. 

Completely solving this problem means consistent patterns and APIs, interoperability between data sources, the discovery of domain specific features that are really not (think XPath over Objects, using SqlXml as a object persistence layer), and not getting hung up on the domain specific eccentricities (think processing instructions/ comments in Xml) that can’t be mapped to other domains.  Are we there yet?  No way.  Are we going in the right direction?  I believe so.