XQuery Lowering the Cost of Healthcare

How a Leading Healthcare provider is using XQuery to simplify Java Web Services

Bing Wu is a Lead Software Engineer in the health care sector. In his role as a software engineer, Bing is responsible for the development of various server-side Java programs which involve the use of Web Service and XQuery technology. This story is about Bing's XQuery experiences:

The Challenge

What we needed was a higher level way to manipulate and integrate the XML
directly in the Web Service applications so that our healthcare applications can access the underlying healthcare data as well as have the ability to expose Web Service application interface to the outside world.

XQuery as a Key Web Service Enabling Technology

We use XQuery middle-tier integration technology - it's critical for implementing a lot of work that is needed in getting all sorts of data to java objects and back. It's so much easier than before using XQuery to aggregate all the data and directly manipulate it so that it's exactly the way we need it to be. We used the Saxon XQuery processor, the latest addition to our XML processing stack, and we implement all of this data aggregation and manipulation logic as a Servlet filter in the Apache Tomcat environment. The XQuery layer has a lot less code compared to the XML parsing code we used before and is much easier to maintain. XQuery for us really simplifies Web Service application development.

On XQuery Productivity

Originally we used to write XQuery by hand. Initially it was very hard because we were new to the technology. I used Stylus Studio and it was very helpful in gaining experience in writing, understanding and testing XQuery expressions, and I really like the tool – the best part was the integrated XQuery debugging support - I could troubleshoot XQuery expressions step-by-step and debug the problems. We have some very sophisticated XQuery expressions and Stylus Studio's XQuery tools are a great help for the development productivity.

Why I use XQuery

I think that XQuery has a place in middleware technology because it has support for all of the SQL/Database related technology, but in the XML world. It really helps us move our focus away from all the tedious lower-level details of XML processing and instead lets us focus on writing the business logic of our application. Using XQuery for mid-tier data aggregation and integration is now an important aspect of building our Web Service applications.


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