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Re: "Binary XML" proposals

From: Al Snell <alaric@alaric-snell.com>

>Even in my self-describing scheme
>that would be 5 bytes per element (one tag byte saying "HERE BE AN
>IEEE FLOAT", then 4 bytes of float[0]).

I think underlying Al's comments is that, especially in the new world of
datatyped XML (i.e. with XML Schemas datatypes) there are new possibilities
for smart compressed XML and binary XML.  The SGML binary discussions did
not really have this possibility, and we old-timers will have to re-evaluate
some of our experience.

That being said, I remember Steve DeRose had an excellent article on his
(patented) technique for indexing documents using his fully qualified naming
system (as used in DynaText), which gave all sorts of interesting reasons
why text formats can sometimes be much more efficient that binary formats,
even for searching.  It was a very surprising and eye-opening article, but I
don't know where it was: if anyone has a URI for that article, it really
should be required reading for XML people.  In particular, that article gave
lots of nice reasons why "binary is more efficient/small than text" cannot
be blanketed: some of the reasons came down to binary formats that merely
serialize pointers, if my memory serves me well.

Which brings me back to my previous point that defaulting/inheritence
savings of the particular XML and the particular binary format may dominate
more than the simplistic binary v. text issue.

Rick Jelliffe