20.4.Text Triggers

The text trigger mechanism allows implementing a broad range of content tracking functionality. The idea is storing free text or XPATH queries in association to a text indexed column of a table. When the content of the table changes through inserts or updates, the new data is matched against a base of stored queries and hits are marked into a separate table. The data being tracked may either be plain text or XML. In the event of XML, both free text and XPATH queries can be stored.

The benefit of the text trigger system as opposed to other forms of periodic content tracking is that the incoming data itself indexes a base of stored queries instead of a base of stored queries repeatedly indexing the database. This means that only the changes are compared to the stored queries and that queries that could not even in principle match will not be tried. This results in a qualitatively better performance and scalability than repeatedly running a batch of queries over updated data and thus makes possible personalized information filtering applications that would be impractical with other approaches.