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XBase Project


This project addressed the conceptual fundamentals of data storage, investigating techniques for provision of highly generic storage facilities that can be tailored to produce various individually customised storage infrastructures, compliant to the needs of particular applications. This requires the separation of mechanism and policy wherever possible. Aspirations include:

  • actors, whether users or individual processes, should be able to bind to, update and manipulate data and programs transparently with respect to their respective locations;
  • programs should be expressed independently of the storage and network technology involved in their execution;
  • storage facilities should be structure-neutral so that actors can impose multiple interpretations over information, simultaneously and safely;
  • information should not be discarded so that arbitrary historical views are supported;
  • raw stored information should be open to all; where security restrictions on its use are required this should be achieved using cryptographic techniques.

The key advances of the research were:

  1. the identification of a candidate set of minimal storage system building blocks, which are sufficiently simple to avoid encapsulating policy where it cannot be customised by applications, and composable to build highly flexible storage architectures
  2. insight into the nature of append-only storage components, and the issues arising from their application to common storage use-cases


The objectives were:

  • to investigate techniques for provision of highly generic storage facilities that may be compliant to the needs of particular applications (making mechanisms available to applications without imposing any particular policies)
  • to develop techniques allowing actors to bind to, update and manipulate data and programs without regard to: the location of the actors, the data or the programs, the storage technology employed, or the network technology employed
  • to apply the generic techniques to the storage of XML documents in particular

Project Members


Funding Body EPSRC
Grant Number GR/R45154
Holders Graham Kirby
Value £58,592
Duration October 2001 - December 2002

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