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Re: [xml-dev] Parsing XML with anything but

On Mon, Dec 9, 2013 at 10:08 PM, Simon St.Laurent <simonstl@simonstl.com> wrote:

I hate to interrupt this episode of "other programmers are so stupid,"
but this story does its best to shove blame in a lot of unwarranted directions without recognizing that the rest of the world may have a point.

The way other developers think and the things and practices that are accepted as normal or mainstream amongst them are  abnormal to the rest of the world,  particular other professionals.

As the OP here, I would preface by emphasising the original question,  which concerned  the motivations of the people who build XML parsers in general purpose languages. I'd posit they are unlikely to fall into the "stupid" category. 

I don't find too many programmers who've written their own XML parsers out of stacks of custom regexes.  I do find a lot of people who use regexes to extract information from XML documents for tasks that don't seem worth the trouble of writing a SAX app or building a DOM tree.

If SAX and DOM were my only choices I would at least contemplate the same.

In fact  if the sum total of what I needed done was to change "Soviet Union" to "Russian Federation" I'd be rolling out a regex too.

(I manipulate markup with regular expressions pretty frequently, though in contexts unlikely to create explosions.)

Yes, it's true that writing applications that apply regular expressions or other text processing to "complete" XML can be dangerous.  That doesn't mean that people doing that are stupid or poorly trained, however, and neither does it mean that they haven't tried their local XML toolsets first and found them wanting.

RTFM is not the answer to XML's problems.  Neither is demanding smarter programmers.

http://vimeo.com/14313378 from 8:46 to 9:50.

People who are expert in a technology are the ones best placed to determine when not to use it. If that was what was going on I would wager we would see alternatives being advocated in certain scenarios. Only if a technology was pure snake oil or completely without merit would we normally be seeing it's wholesale rejection.

Here alternatives are springing up because "other developers" don't like XML and it's ilk. Each and everyone of us is capable of coming to a conclusion as to whether that is because they are troubled by specific complexities and nuances or they just don't like it.  The person who first introduced me to XML described it as just like COBOL. I don't accept the notion that it is flat out complicated or difficult.

I suspect the real issue at play here is not stupidity or a lack of training but a lack of curiosity, especially of something that looks different.

Actually it is another illustration of how mainstream developers think in ways that are alien to other professions. Let's say you were a Historian or an Anthropologist. Would you refuse to study an important civilisation because you didn't like their language.

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