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   Re: [xml-dev] Parsing efficiency? - why not 'compile'????

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On Tue, 25 Feb 2003 16:38:24 -0500, David Megginson <david@megginson.com> 

> We may just have to accept that the Tim B. twins (Tim
> Berners-Lee and Tim Bray) have been right all along, and that
> text-based formats really are efficient enough for the vast majority
> of applications.

Definitely a point that must be kept in mind.  But to repeat myself (I'm 
shocked that not everyone reads every word of these permathreads!) "binary 
XML" is a misnomer; I think the point is to consider alternative 
serializations that optimize a specific property (parsing speed, 
serialization size, ease of authoring, ease of reading, ability to preserve 
type or unit-of-measure information, and so on) rather than compromise 
across all of them as XML syntax does.  I *suspect* that representing 
numbers, dates, etc. in text will turn out to be just as fast to parse as 
all the byte swapping and assorted logic it takes to move them across 
languages and platforms, so a parsing speed optimized flavor of "XML" 
probably would be text-based rather than binary.

> Finally, remember that standards are about the majority, not the
> minority.  A standard is justified only if a lot of people use it:

And that's precisely why the old compromises are being questioned in 
numerous back offices around the world; XML is so popular that a small 
minority of users can add up to thousands of people and lots of gigabytes. 
The case for alternative serializations really couldn't have been plausibly 
made until very recently.  Now there are all sorts of people who want to 
author in WikiML or whatever, parse thousands of messages a minute, send 
XML to wristwatches, etc.  The question in my mind is do we want these use 
cases under a big tent called "XML" or do we want to encourage them to fork 
off.  I realize that the "just fork off and take your pollution with you" 
faction is well represented on this list, but remember what happened when 
XML forked off SGML .... the fork-ee took all the mindshare with it.


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