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   RE: [xml-dev] Fast text output from SAX?

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Claude L Bullard wrote:
> There were reasons to go to markup over all of the
> binary solutions that dominated the markets when 
> that decision was made.   The success of that 
> decision is evident by the near ubiquitous use
> of markup systems now and the ease with which
> unprecedented integration and standardization
> is occurring.
	I'm sorry but I just don't accept this as anything other than
rewriting history. As far as I know, there was only *one* moment in
this industry when a large number of people sat down to debate the
"text vs binary" decision. That moment came back in the 80's during
the early days of X.400 and X.500. And, the result of that debate was
to choose ASN.1 as the winner. Unfortunately, the decision was made in
the OSI context and the demise of OSI impacted ASN.1 heavily even
though the two are only anecdotally related. Also, the then
"seven-bit" Unix crowd never really bought in to ASN.1 and
successfully attacked X.400, etc. with SMTP, etc. (but they weren't
really part of the decision in the first place....)
	What happened later was that HTML grew in popularity due to
HTML's use in a single (but compelling application). The HTML folk
were then joined by their SGML cousins (the SGML folk wanted to get
"back on top" again) and we eventually got XML. This wasn't a decision
-- it was a social process that was driven by primarily non-technical
forces. Given the interplay between "social" and "technical" forces
that prevails in our industry, the development and acceptance of XML
has been a wonderful and excellent thing. However, there are still
applications around that have a need for hard "technical"
characteristics (like compactness and parsing speed) that is greater
than their need for the social benefits of ease of use, debugging,
	The original "decision" to choose ASN.1 was made in a time
when the players were all much more aware of the technical
requirements than they were of social needs. Machines and networks
were terribly slow. Software development was highly concentrated in a
small number of highly skilled groups. The software industry still had
very little experience with non-technical products of any kind.
	Now, times have changed and we've got XML to solve a whole
class of issues. Today, the percentage of people who *need* something
like binary encodings is much smaller then it was back in the 80's,
but there are still a significant number of applications and
organizations that still have relatively severe technical requirements
for compactness and speed... That's why this perma-thread has never
died. The need is still there.
	What we need is détente between these two camps. They have
been battling for decades now. It is time to stop fighting and learn
to work *together*. We should use XML for text based stuff and ASN.1
binary encodings for the binary stuff. Anyone who isn't satisfied by
one of these two probably has a requirement so bizarre that there
isn't anything a general standard could do for them.

		bob wyman


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