Data must travel for it to be useful. In its journey data gets transformed. It gets trimmed, enriched, used, reused and triggers various business events. Previously data just travelled corporate networks. Now "data must travel the web".
From Client to Databases
Data travels from a web-client or mobile-client to a web server. It gets dispatched to one or more web applications. It is sent to other web applications to trigger various actions. It ends up in a database for later retrieval, if needed.
From Database to Client
Data is retrieved from a database. Massaged by one or more web applications. Transformed into XHTML or WML for consumption by clients. Lands up in our browsers or desktop applications. Nowadays, it is retrieved incrementally by highly responsive AJAX applications.
So what caused this extreme mobility of data? A format known as XML.
XML has been a runaway success, on a much greater scale than its designers anticipated
Not for the reason they had hoped
Because separation of form from content is right
But for a reason they barely thought about
Data must travel the web
Tree structured documents (Infosets) are a useable transfer syntax for just about anything. So data-oriented web users think of XML as a transfer mechanism for their data
Inspired by Henry S Thomson.