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   Re: [xml-dev] The subsetting has begun

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At 11:30 PM +0000 2/25/03, Alaric B. Snell wrote:
>LDAP, SNMP, SSL, the phone network... nah, none of those interoperate very
>well, do they? And I bet XML carries *way* more traffic than the *phone
>network*, so it couldn't *posisbly* be interoperably transferring less data
>from day to day than ASN.1 systems :-)

It strikes me that the phone network, when used to transfer voice, is 
essentially an analog system. Yes, there's a lot of conversion to 
digital as soon as you get past the local office, or maybe even 
sooner nowadays with VOIP. But it's still about an analog signal 
going in one end of the connection and an analog signal coming out 
the other. That makes it more resistance to corruption than digital 
computer networks where every last byte often needs to get there 
unaltered in the right order.

Even more importantly, the signal is analog and interpreted by humans 
rather than computers (most of the time). Humans deal a lot better 
with noisy data. They can fill dropped words and degraded signals far 
beyond what computers can handle. This also makes the phone network 
far more robust in practice.

However, XML isn't designed to solve these problems.  XML works in 
the much tougher domain of enabling computer-to-computer 
communication. It's harder for two computers to talk to and 
understand each other than two people. So it's not really a fair 
comparison. LDAP, SNMP, IP, these are more realistic comparisons, 
though I do suspect that if LDAP were being invented today it would 
use XML instead of a binary format.

| Elliotte Rusty Harold | elharo@metalab.unc.edu | Writer/Programmer |
|           Processing XML with Java (Addison-Wesley, 2002)          |
|              http://www.cafeconleche.org/books/xmljava             |
| http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ISBN%3D0201771861/cafeaulaitA  |
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