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RE: "Binary XML" proposals

Devil's Advocate here again.

Parsing XML isn't all that complex, and why should anyone want to write a
parser anyway? - there are plenty available of the shelf, free. All I have
to do is plug in SAX to my application and I'm talking with the whole world
of XML. It would take considerably longer to code an interpreter from
scratch for some arbitrary binary format.

You will be using a tried & tested technology too, which has definite
advantages when there's not only the programmer's time to pay for, there's
also the support & maintenance.

Parsing XML is not particularly processor-hungry - if you are in a limited
environment then you have to make allowances whatever data formats you are
using. I know a basic XML parser can be used successfully on the Palm, so
there is an upper bound on what's feasible. If my fridge needs Palm-level
intelligence, then XML might well be appropriate. If not, why even consider

Why talk binary-XML anyway - why not use an existing binary format like MS
.mdb format? (sorry - joke, I'm not that evil...)

BTW, I don't believe this :

<- but the amount of information in a binary-XML file is less than
<- the amount
<- of information in a text-XML file.

Or that a linear increase in the length of a chain of XML processors will
cause a an exponential rise in processor requirements.



(hang on - IMHO only the .mdb bit was at all devilish)

Danny Ayers

Danny Ayers

<- -----Original Message-----
<- From: Al Snell [mailto:alaric@alaric-snell.com]
<- Sent: 10 April 2001 17:03
<- To: Tim Bray
<- Cc: The Deviants
<- Subject: Re: "Binary XML" proposals
<- On Mon, 9 Apr 2001, Tim Bray wrote:
<- > would that speed up the whole application?  You'd need to know
<- > what proportion of its time it spends parsing/generating XML.  In
<- > some apps, this proportion is going to be very small.
<- Yep, but if in even 1% of apps it would make a welcome or necessary
<- difference, then it's worth it. That's a lot of apps.
<- > As for the data storage volume issue, uh, isn't the world awash
<- > in admirable compression technology that works pretty well on
<- > most data formats, and particularly well on redundant textual
<- > stuff like XML?
<- It'll work even better on a tighter binary format. Less
<- compression ratio,
<- but the amount of information in a binary-XML file is less than
<- the amount
<- of information in a text-XML file. And there isn't always the
<- software and
<- processor time / memory buffers available for data compression engines.
<- > Absent some good strong empirical evidence, neither processing
<- > nor storage cost are a priori arguments for going binary.
<- Simplicity? Parsing XML is a complex task, meaning writing parsers is
<- harder than it would be for a binary format.
<- >
<- >  -Tim
<- >
<- ABS
<- --
<-  http://www.alaric-snell.com/  http://RFC.net/
<- http://www.warhead.org.uk/
<-    Any sufficiently advanced technology can be emulated in software
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