INFS 740 - Database Programming for the World Wide Web

Instructor: Dr. Larry Kerschberg

Meeting Time and Place:
Wednesdays: 7:20 - 10:00 p.m., Sandbridge 107.

Instuctor's Office Hours:
Wednesdays: 5:00 - 6:30 p.m., Engineering Building, Room 4412 and on Blackboard.

Graduate Teaching Assistant: Mr. Sahil Khanna

Please send course-related email to Dr. Kerschberg and/or Mr. Khanna using Blackboard.

Course Objectives:

Increasingly, data, information, and knowledge is being placed on the World Wide Web, the Web for short, as well as on the Internet. Much of it is being expressed using the Extensible Markup Language, XML, and specialized markup languages. This course will study methods to access, store and manipulate data suitable for Web applications.

Through this course, students will have a grasp of the basic concepts of the XML language, XML-based data structures, data manipulation using XQuery, and modern tools for building modern Internet-based applications.

Pre-requisites: INFS 501, 515, 519, SWE 510 and INFS 614. Students need a very good grasp of relational database concepts.

Topics Covered:

The course will address the following topics:

  1. XML, XML Schema and XPath
  2. XQuery and XQuery Update Facility
  3. XML to Relational Mapping
  4. XML Normalization
  5. XSL Transformation
  6. Resource Description Framework (RDF), RDF Schema (RDFS)
  7. SPARQL - The Semantic Web Query Language
  8. Special topics of current interest.

Grading Policy:

The grade will be determined by grades obtained in individual assignments, research paper review and report, a group research project, and class participation.

Grade Components
Individual Assignments
Group Research Project Paper
Group Presentation (Individual Grade)
Class Participation
Midterm Exam
Final Exam

In the group projects, students form small, 3-4 person, teams to perform research on a topic related to the course.


Required Text:

Essential XML Quick Reference: A Programmer's Reference to XML, XPath, XSLT, XML Schema, SOAP, and More, Aaron Skonnard and Martin Gudgin, Addison-Wesley, 2002, ISBN 0-201-74095-8.

Available in Fenwick Library as

We will also be using the Oxygen XML Editor from SyncRO Soft Ltd.,, which has graciously provided a class license.

Recommended Texts:

We will be using the GMU Digital Library for the Safari On-Line Books from O'Reilly as well as journal articles available via the GMU Digital Library. The books listed below are accessible in the GMU Digital Library.

XQuery: The XML Query Language, Michael Brundage, Addison-Wesley, 2004. ISBN 0-321-16581-0.

XQuery from the Experts, A Guide to the W3C XML Query Language, Howard Katz, Ed., Addison Wesley, 2004. ISBN 0-321-18060-7.

XML Data Management: Native XML and XML-Enabled Database Systems, A.B. Chaudhri, A. Rashid, and R. Zicari, Editors, Addison-Wesley, 2003. ISBN: 0-201-84452-4.

FastSOA, Frank Cohen, Morgan Kauffmann, 2007, ISBN 10: 0-12-369513-9.