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Alaric B. Snell wrote:
[a whole lot of stuff]
I think one advantage XML offers over things like TSV and XDR is a
certain measure of future-proofing. Change your RDBMS data dictionary
and TSV instances out the wild often become toast. Same thing for XDR -
in fact direct object serialization is almost always *wrong*. Anyhow,
because XML has all these verbose labels saying what each chunk is, it
tends to be more change-resistant than most of what has come before.
Another big difference is the Unicode handling. I think XML has a
qualitatively healthier relationship with internationalized information
than most other things out there.
The third one is the built-in explicitly written easy-to-understand
easy-to-implement error-handing semantics.
There's other stuff, but for my money these are the three reasons why
XML suddenly got traction where a lot of other well-designed stuff
didn't. None of them are absolutes, but put together they hit an
important sweet spot. -Tim