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RE: OXR/OR Mapping Was RE: [xml-dev] Native XML Interfaces

I'll take your dollar and double-down.


  " The problem is that developers faced with XML tend to learn only one toolkit... but it tends to be the most complicated one."


Given no assumptions about the problem ;)

What IS the easiest toolkit that you would suggest specifically not knowing the problem ?

(and define "simple" and "complex" from a novice perspective).


Now suppose you (behind Door A) DO know the problem but are somewhat ignorant about XML and need to pick a tool ...


Some toolkits may be *too simple* (say dont support namespaces well enough ...)

So you at least have to know about namespaces and which tools support those, and what they are enough to determine if your XML needs that.   What about data size ?  How big is your XML ?  How much memory is required for ToolX to handle your largest document ?

How about lots of documents ? Can you load them all at once ? or do you have to handle them sequentially ? Do you need streaming ? Could you define in one sentance what Streaming is? Could you identify which tools and what subsets of features support Streaming?


Validation ? Is that needed ? Does ToolX handle validation ? DTD ?  XSD ? Which version ?  


Does your app language have direct XML support ?
Is it sufficient ? How do you know ?  Is a 3rd party tool in your language simpler then your language's support ? Does it depend

on the details of your project ?  What about the next project ? Do you want to invest in learning X knowing it might not solve Y later ?

How about transformation ... do you need it ? Do you know what it means and problems it solves (and generates)?

Is it fast enough for you  ? Do you want to learn XSLT sufficiently to determine if you could have done it some other way ?

Which version of XSLT ? Does your system have it installed ? How about a third party version ? Which one ? is it free or costly ?

Is the cost worth it ? If so can you justify it with sufficient detail to your manager to get funding for it ?

Will the free version be feature-ful enough that you could get by with it even if its not ideal ? How do you  know ?



I argue you *do* actually need to know quite a  bit of specialist knowledge of XML to answer the above, and if you dont

answer the above you are prety much guaranteed to pick an inappropriate tool.


Now knowing quite a lot about XML I happen to easily come to the answer for a given case, usually but sometimes I stumble. ... but knowing many quite smart programmers who are nonetheless XML ignorant, they *don't even know what questions to ask* ....







David A. Lee




From: Uche Ogbuji [mailto:uche@ogbuji.net]
Sent: Monday, June 03, 2013 6:31 PM
To: David Lee
Cc: Norman Gray; Andrew Welch; xml-dev@lists.xml.org
Subject: Re: OXR/OR Mapping Was RE: [xml-dev] Native XML Interfaces


On Mon, Jun 3, 2013 at 3:30 PM, David Lee <dlee@calldei.com> wrote:

Software has gotten so complicated that most people simply dont have the time in their entire career to learn everything,

so they pick what they want to learn, what their boss tells them to learn and for the rest pick what seems easiest - and if it works you stop there.   And for a lot of people that is not bad or wrong.  The universe of programmers is not what it was 30 years ago.  There is a huge amount of jobs for people to "just" put together pre-built parts.   Expecting everyone to be an expert at everything is unrealistic.


People don't need to be an expert at everything.  The era from von Neumann through David Bentley is well over, and I don't think anyone imagines it's not.



And face it, you *do* have to know XML quite well to use the "simple" tools ... and when to choose them over more complex tools.


This is where I disagree.  I do think you need to be an expert at XML to do certain things with certain tools.  But I don't believe the simple data extract mentioned here is one of those things.  The problem is that the tools which are always the first on the marquee are rarely fit for purpose for any task, and XML does too poor a job at showing the desperate hacker the way to accomplish basic tasks.


In other words, the problem is one not of expectations but rather education.



When do you pick DOM or SAX or StAX or XSLT or XQuery or xmlsh or XPath or XProc ? To actually make a useful decision on this you actually have to learn ALL of them


Only if you truly expect in your job to come across the full profile of problems that require this long list.  I think very few developers ever do, and so for most I do think just learning one toolkit, and preferably the easiest one, is fine.  The problem is that developers faced with XML tend to learn only one toolkit...but it tends to be the most complicated one.


Again it's only our own fault.



Uche Ogbuji                       http://uche.ogbuji.net
Founding Partner, Zepheira        http://zepheira.com

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