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Re: "Binary XML" proposals

On Tue, 10 Apr 2001, David Brownell wrote:

> Basically, every binary RPC protocol I've ever seen has been
> converted, sooner or later, into a conduit for proprietary
> platforms.  Fragmenting a previously-unified (XML=text)
> world by creating a binary variant seems a fine start, for any
> organizations wanting to head that direction.  Large vendors
> can afford the duplicate investments, when they can forsee
> it opens the door to more vendor lock-in.  The rest of the world
> may well prefer to do smarter things with their time/money
> than helping raise more barriers to market entry.

Hmmm... throwing petrol onto the fire here, how do you guys feel about XML
schemas that feature non-XML sublanguages like XPath or the path thingies
in SVG? Your argument can be applied to those, too; companies could add
proprietary extensions to XPath that aren't self describing (XPath is
hardly self describing as it is once you get beyond
/element/element/element :-)

> There's also the "out of sight, out of mind" issue.  Once things
> get binary, the number of people who can detect mistakes
> (much less shenanigans!) declines by orders of magnitude.

I'll make my point again:

*It's a myth that binary formats are somehow harder to read than
text-based formats.*

Binary formats that are well specified and take off end up with commonly,
freely, avaialable tools to view them. Consider JPEG files, GIF files, PNG
files, zip files, and even filesystems (ISO9660, FAT, ext2fs, FFS, ...).

TCP/IP. Consider that, too, as a good case in point. Do you see any
proprietary TCP/IP variants out there?

> - Dave


                               Alaric B. Snell
 http://www.alaric-snell.com/  http://RFC.net/  http://www.warhead.org.uk/
   Any sufficiently advanced technology can be emulated in software