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I agree XML is not the most efficient format. We got more efficient formats
in the past. But...
a) We now have a common alphabet, still not a common language. Comparing
this to actual tour of babel after several thousand of years, this is quite
b) The transformation tool (XSLT) that comes with it allows us to perform
translation form one language to another. Even perform transformations into
other syntax languages like for instance Java or ECMAScript. Moreover, we
can even perform this transformation in most modern browsers. This is a
tremendously useful tool for model to model transformations.
c) Easier to debug. For anything returning an XML based format, its quite
useful to use the browser to check the returned result set, easier to debug
than with binary formats: for example, to debug a SQL/xml statement or an
Xquery statement. I know, not a lot of tools out there are providing this,
but slowly and surely more and more do.
You know Len, for at least a couple of years and since new technologies take
a veeeeeery looooong time to percolate in developers mind, I'll wait that
more tool use XML as an interchange format.
However, in the near future, I think it is more useful to challenge the
actual three tiers architecture. The middle tier is used mainly to resolve
the impedance mismatch between relational database and clients. Most of the
time, tables and rows and transformed into objects and these objects used to
feed data into dumb terminals through HTML; this time instead of having
green screen we have colorful screen but still the same paradigm. New
progress made on the relational DB front allows us now to talk directly to
the RDB and get rid of the middle tier. For the moment, until we have more
tools and developers waking up to XML, I wouldn't change the format (at
least until it becomes really really pervasive) . But I think its time to
provide richer environments to users and go beyond the mainframe
architecture we are sticked with these days. So, if a don Quichote is in
search of a windmill its better to attack the three tier architecture than
the messaging format. Yes I know Len, big money, big players are too happy
to make money with this actual architecture...
Didier PH Martin