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   Re: [xml-dev] The Rising Sun: How XML Binary Restored the Fortunesof In

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Bullard, Claude L (Len) wrote:

> XML Binary is just an encoding, right?  

That remains to be seen. Many proposals are decidedly not just an 
encoding for the XML infoset.

>It is faster, right?  

Sometimes. It is also slower sometimes. And sometimes there's no obvious 
difference. It all depends on which documents, parsers, tools, and 
benchmark techniques one chooses to test.

It is far from self-evident that binary formats are necessarily faster 
than text. The best that can be said is that some parsers for some 
binary formats are faster than some other parsers for XML text. 
Honestly, I'm not sure if even this much has been proved for genuine 
lossless encodings of XML.

> can be a lossless encoding, right?

Yes, it can be. Will it be? That remains to be seen. Far more proposals 
for this format are lossy than not. It really tends to depend on how one 
defines lossless and lossy.

Far too much effort has been spent shouting supposed self-evident truths 
about how much faster/smaller/sexier binary formats are. Little in the 
way of evidence has been produced, especially when:

1. You rule out all the lossy formats
2. You don't choose the slowest text parser out there to compare to.

Personally, I'm not convinced that there isn't another factor of ten 
performance gain to be had in the world of real XML parsing, though 
doing that will probably require ditching DOM and SAX in favor of a more 
performance tuned API. Still, I doubt we've yet hit the end of the line 
when it comes to XML parsing algorithms. I could well be wrong about 
that, but it would be truly ironic if two weeks after binary XML goes to 
REC, some grad student somewhere releases a text parser that beats the 
pants off the binary parsers.

I suspect this would be more likely to happen if companies like Sun 
devoted their brain power to XML parsing algorithms rather than 
inventing new formats.

Elliotte Rusty Harold  elharo@metalab.unc.edu
XML in a Nutshell 3rd Edition Just Published!


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