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On Fri, 2002-12-06 at 10:21, Alaric B. Snell wrote:
> On Thursday 05 December 2002 23:35, Tim Bray wrote:
> In case you hadn't noticed, there was a lot of interoperability before XML
> came around:
Oh but there wasn't. If I understand Tim's standards, you have exactly
one example, the Internet, and IIRC that was done as much by the heroic
practice of porting running code from platform to platform as by
actually having a spec to work from.
> 1) The international telephone network
Is hardware. The hardware guys spent most of the 19th century learning
to build interoperable systems of increasing complexity. They managed to
learn how, but then hundreds of EEs (including me) over the years seem
to magically forget when we switch to software.
> 2) The Internet (from IP up to the WWW) This is really your only example, and rather weak at that.
> 3) Image file formats
A. generally only interoperate via lossy conversion, and B. don't really predate
XML. Even you admit the TIFF nightmare, and as I recall 1998 I couldn't
count on reliably opening an arbitrary jpeg or gif file.
> 4) CSV and TSV
Are completely useless in any human in the loop system, and are
spectacularly brittle over time..
> 5) Zip files
That's a compression format. Garbage Compressed, Garbage Uncompressed.
Same for Gold.
> 6) Filesystems
Interoperable filesystems? We have a communication problem here. Do you
mean NFS and Samba? Or do you mean ISO 9660, which is the only thing
close to an interoperable FS I can think of, and it has multiple
incompatible extensions to bring it's Lowest Common Denominator
capabilities into the 1990s.
> Throw off those rose tinted glasses! We were interoperating quite happily
> before XML came along, thanks. Maybe you spent most of those 21 years in
> Microsoft environments which don't interoperate well with the rest, but the
> rest of us were happily moving code and data between (in my case) various
> flavours of unix, DOS, RISC OS, and Windows.
Where I lived it was with great pain and agony, and the APIs and
Toolkits that Tim spoke of.