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Re: [xml-dev] JSON - The Fat Free Alternative - Redux

On 09/30/2014 03:34 PM, Michael Kay wrote:
I think the "fat" referred to by the phrase "fat-free alternative to
XML" has very little to do with data size, it has much more to do with
complexity: the fact that the JSON specification fits on one sheet of
paper, whereas XML extends to thousands of pages if you include the
whole stack.
I had a few too many conversations with programmers which ran like:

ME: What's so hard about parsing a tree?

PROG: The tree part is easy. The hard part is knowing what it all means.

ME: Sure - but doesn't that get simpler when you get familiar with the markup languages you use?

PROG: Familiar? What do you mean? I feed the schema to the program, and then I spend forever trying to figure out why things won't validate.

ME: Do you ask the person who sent you the document?

PROG: Sure, but sometimes it's my own code that won't create content that matches the schema, and then I have to know all the details.

ME: Have you tried looking through sample documents?

PROG: Sure, and they validate. Then I try to do something sliobscure type and sequence issuesghtly different and I can't figure out why slightly different doesn't validate. [Lists corner cases, cites half-remembered specifications, sputters.]

ME: Sounds painful.

That's one relatively small component of a much larger repeated conversation, but it was probably the most frequent part of it from about 2001-2006. Yes, I've heard echoes of the same conversation around JSON schemas as well. No, of course I don't think they're approaching the challenge or the standards the right way, but it keeps happening.

(I had plenty of difficult conversations before XML Schema dominated, but with a different cast of mostly tool-related challenges.)


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