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Efficient data representation for XML in peer-based systems

Tripney, B. and Christopher, Foley and Gourlay, R. and Wilson, J. (2010) Efficient data representation for XML in peer-based systems. International Journal of Web Information Systems, 6 (2). pp. 132-148. ISSN 1744-0084

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Purpose - New directions in the provision of end-user computing experiences mean that the best way to share data between small mobile computing devices needs to be determined. Partitioning large structures so that they can be shared efficiently provides a basis for data-intensive applications on such platforms. The partitioned structure can be compressed using dictionary-based approaches and then directly queried without firstly decompressing the whole structure. Design/methodology/approach - The paper describes an architecture for partitioning XML into structural and dictionary elements and the subsequent manipulation of the dictionary elements to make the best use of available space. Findings - The results indicate that considerable savings are available by removing duplicate dictionaries. The paper also identifies the most effective strategy for defining dictionary scope. Research limitations/implications - This evaluation is based on a range of benchmark XML structures and the approach to minimising dictionary size shows benefit in the majority of these. Where structures are small and regular, the benefits of efficient dictionary representation are lost. The authors' future research now focuses on heuristics for further partitioning of structural elements. Practical implications - Mobile applications that need access to large data collections will benefit from the findings of this research. Traditional client/server architectures are not suited to dealing with high volume demands from a multitude of small mobile devices. Peer data sharing provides a more scalable solution and the experiments that the paper describes demonstrate the most effective way of sharing data in this context. Social implications - Many services are available via smartphone devices but users are wary of exploiting the full potential because of the need to conserve battery power. The approach mitigates this challenge and consequently expands the potential for users to benefit from mobile information systems. This will have impact in areas such as advertising, entertainment and education but will depend on the acceptability of file sharing being extended from the desktop to the mobile environment. Originality/value - The original work characterises the most effective way of sharing large data sets between small mobile devices. This will save battery power on devices such as smartphones, thus providing benefits to users of such devices.