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   Re: [xml-dev] Relating to XML

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Baiss Magnusson wrote:
> I have a direct to java client web application which parses a XML file, 
> I designed the XML syntax, of recipes into Enterprise Objects (EO's).
> My question is: How does one go about creating interoperability with 
> other applications?
> For instance, there is another cookbook application around which has an 
> export function and produces an XML type file of similar, but slightly 
> different tag syntax than my cookbook program. I would like to import 
> it's recipes.
> Is there something about XML services that I am missing?

Nope - XML doesn't magically make things interoperate; just as with any 
other data format, both ends need to be aware of the meaning of the 
information you're passing back and forth to make sense of it!

So you define XML formats - like XHTML, SVG, and so on - specifying what 
elements go inside what other elements, and documenting what they 
*mean*. Both applications must stick to the same spec to acheive anything.

There has been much hype to the tune that XML somehow improves 
interoperability, but alas, there is no real truth behind it.

Using XML for data interchange isn't always the best solution, anyway; 
XML is far better suited to document-type formats, where the content you 
are exchange is (at heart) a single string of text with structural and 
styling information supplied by the elements. If your XML looks like this:

<para>text text text text text text text text 
<productName>foo</productName> text text text ...

...then everyone seems to agree that XML is good, but when you start to 
get stuff more like:


...then you may find it easier to stick to better-established standards 
for such things, like CSV files!

My personal measure of when XML is being used outside of its domain is 
to think about what the content would look like if I just stripped out 
all the elements. The first example comes out as:

text text text text text text text text foo text text text...

Which, had I written some better example prose than 'text', would make 
some sense, whereas the purchase order comes out as:

12345-2341234 G345 10

...which suggests this is really data being exchanged, rather than a 

But plenty of others will disagree... :-)


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