OASIS Mailing List ArchivesView the OASIS mailing list archive below
or browse/search using MarkMail.


Help: OASIS Mailing Lists Help | MarkMail Help



   Re: [xml-dev] XML Binary Characterization WG public list available

[ Lists Home | Date Index | Thread Index ]

At 10:17 AM -0400 4/9/04, Michael Champion wrote:

>Pandora's box was opened in 1997.  XML 1.0 is optimized for SGML 
>compatibility, and that turns out to be a decent compromise between 
>human readability and machine processability for a lot of common use 
>cases. All sorts of other use cases might be optimized: Wiki-like 
>markup languages are optimized for human editability; there are XML 
>serializations that are optimized to save space, (see 
>http://xml.coverpages.org/xmlAndCompression.html) and there are XML 
>serializations that are optimized to be quickly parseable (e.g. 
>http://www.ximpleware.com/).  XML has reached a point in it's 
>evolution where people with some of these use cases are wondering 
>whether XML's non-optimality for one thing or another outweighs the 
>very real benefits, and are trying to figure out how to refactor 
>things to get most of XML's benefits with fewer of its costs.

The problem with optimizing for such situations is that the result 
tends to be less optimal for others. It's like trying to push out a 
bubble in wall-to-wall carpet. Can't be done without cutting the rug. 
Push it down one place, it pops up again somewhere else.

XML is very nice compromise between the needs of many different 
systems. It's very compromise nature makes it wonderful for moving 
data between heterogeneous systems. Optimizing XML for particular 
environments and uses such as routers, wireless devices, numeric 
data, remote procedure calls, record-like documents, etc. will make 
it far harder to exchange data with dissimilar devices and use-cases, 
even if it accomplishes some small gains in a limited, homogeneous 

There are some use cases where XML is just not appropriate. I've been 
saying for years that's it's not suitable for what I call images 
scanned from nature: digital photographs, sampled audio, recorded 
video, and the like. It likewise may not be suitable for the smallest 
of devices. I wouldn't try to stuff it into  a hotel doorlock using a 
4-bit processor, for example. However, for what it does work for, it 
works very well; and trying to make it work better for some of the 
current use cases, or for new use cases, at the expense of existing 
use cases and interoperability does not seem wise.


   Elliotte Rusty Harold
   Effective XML (Addison-Wesley, 2003)


News | XML in Industry | Calendar | XML Registry
Marketplace | Resources | MyXML.org | Sponsors | Privacy Statement

Copyright 2001 XML.org. This site is hosted by OASIS