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RE: [xml-dev] Features of XML Languages that Increase Complexity?


In CSV, you do have to watch for an endless file.  There isn't much else 
to watch for, however.

CSV was my most trivial example ... but even sticking with it I disagree.
There are MANY things that can go wrong in a CSV processor ... some can be "dangerous" and some can produce bad data,
(which may be more "dangerous" then crashing ... e.g. say the wrong $ amount to take out of my account or the wrong person taken off the do-not-fly list).

Some examples

* Misconfiguring the field and row separators
* Incorrect quoting and escaping  (CSV has many variants which are incompatible ... you have to agree with the sender to get it right).
* Passing sensitive data in an unsecure channel
* Column data larger than the expected maximum size.
* Mismatch of number of columns from expected columns
* Missing header rows (thus requiring implicit column definitions)
* Putting the wrong data type in a column.  (say a date instead of a number)
* Formatting the wrong data in a column (dates, units, numeric formats etc).
* Storing tree or graph data -- how to match up the parent/child relationships 
* Inconsistent duplication of data when storing a typical master/detail CSV as repeated rows (master columns repeated).

Thats just a few.    Any of these things could cause incorrect data, loss of data, crashes, insecurities. 
Some of these are really  bad errors that simply can't occur with reasonable XML (such as getting the field name wrong,
or master/detail inconsistencies).   Some are errors that pretty much any data format can break with.

IMHO simply using a simpler format doesn't make the data "safer".

David A. Lee
Simon St.Laurent


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