XBRL & Big Data

Implementations are increasingly using XBRL to work with very large data sets. There are a number of efforts underway to make it easier to use XBRL for very large reports.

Streamable XBRL

In the XML world, a common approach to dealing with large documents is to treat them as a stream of events, rather than trying to hold a representation of the full document in memory. This is challenging to do with XBRL documents, as there may be cross-references within the document that need to be resolved before the individual facts can be fully understood.

The Streaming Extensions specification is designed to make it possible to efficiently process XBRL documents as a stream of facts by limiting the "distance" across which cross-references can operate.

Alternative syntaxes

XBRL has been defined in terms of an XML representation, but users are increasingly looking to work with alternative representations of the data contained within an XBRL report, for example, within relational database, or just in different mark-up, such as JSON.

The Abstract Model specification is an effort to create a syntax independent XBRL model, in order to allow easy and consistent transformation to and from different representations.