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   RE: [xml-dev] Xml file sizes

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>From: "Byarlay, Wayne A." <wab@purdue.edu>
>To: <xml-dev@lists.xml.org>
>Subject: [xml-dev] Xml file sizes
>Date: Mon, 21 Nov 2005 14:31:13 -0500

>If XML uses tags such as <blablabla>This is my data</blablabla>, is that
>not a lot of extra bytes to simply declare the end of a field?

The XML spec explicitly says something like "terseness is not a design 
objective."   In this case, I think there were a number of recovering LISP 
victims :-) who wanted a way for *humans* to figure out what level of the 
hierarchy was being closed.

>And to take it a step further: if I have several records, but the fields
>are always sequential, such as:
><my record>
>     <field1>Bubba Smith</field1>
>     <field2>123 Elm Street</field2>
></my record>
><my 2nd record>
>     <field1>Sally Ryder</field1>
>     <field2>123 Elm Street</field2>
></my 2nd record>
>...Wow, to me, that just seems like many redundant bits of data. So, how
>is XML better than, say, a file where the field headers (and footers)
>are smaller?

If the data is always that regular and sequential, there is little advantage 
to XML.  But what if there are multiple versions of a format floating around 
(some with extra information columns), and you need to figure out which is 
which?  What if you need to merge them?  What if some "cells" are the top of 
a tree of subordinate information?  That gets dicey with CSV.

The basic reason why XML is practical is that it is a good enough format for 
a lot of things, even if it is not particularly good at anything.  Humans 
can deal with it (albeit by squinting a lot), and software can deal with it 
(albeit inefficiently).  It's particularly suited for the messy middle 
ground where both computers and humans must work with information that is 
somewhat document-like and somewhat data-like, and there is enough structure 
and semantics built into the format to be useful but not enough structure to 
be easily mapped into RDBMS, CSV, ASN.1, etc.

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