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

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David Lyon wrote:

>>You have to check everything in between for 
>>well-formedness errors that may be there 
>>irrespective of whether the end-tag is correctly placed or not.
> No you don't.....
> Compiler said : 0 errors

That my compiler (parser) may or may not have said such a thing, is no 
justification for your compiler (parser) not to check for itself. Trust 
but verify. Many of the binary XML proposals make the big mistake of 
assuming that because they have to use some compiler to produce the 
binary format it can't possibly be malformed and therefore they don't 
have to check well-formedness. That's simply not true.

Not all of the benefits of XML derive from its basis in text. Some of 
the benefits derive from its paranoia. Everything is checked every time. 
If a process is generating bad data whether through malice, 
incompetence, bugs, line noise, spec misinterpretation, disk corruption, 
cosmic rays, or a dozen other reasons, we find out very quickly.

Binary formats are no more fundamentally resistant to corruption than 
text based formats are. Indeed the ones being proposed are less 
resistant because they are compressed and therefore less redundant. 
While error correction can certainly be added to binary formats (CDs do 
this, for example) I've yet to notice anyone proposing this for NOT XML. 
The goal of NOT XML seems to be size and speed at all costs, including 
the cost of transparency and disaster recovery. At least with real XML, 
when something goes horribly wrong with critical data, a human can 
probably fix the mistakes and recover most of the information. With a 
binary format, that's going to be much harder to do, if it's even possible.

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


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