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Re: [xml-dev] What is XML's sweet spot?

Hi Roger,

For data, XML serialization is not optimized by nature but it is interesting because of its simplicity. An XML document for data can be seen as a small database for different "entities". Therefore, XML is nice when automatically exchanging data between applications.

Another good point for XML is the set of very powerful languages/tools with it: XPath, XSLT/XQuery. Their specifications are not vendor depending and there is no equivalent for other data formats.

Alain Couthures

Le 18 février 2016 à 13:17, "Costello, Roger L." <costello@mitre.org> a écrit :

Hi Folks,

The recent discussion titled "Protocol Buffers - Why not use XML" was very interesting. Of particular interest to me was the discussion's sub-theme:

What is XML's sweet spot?

Here are excerpts from some of the responses:

Liam Quin, the XML Activity Lead for the W3C wrote [1]:

[XML's] sweet spot was and remains encoding, archiving,
interchange & processing of complex documents

the Enterprise XML people (Web Services) and the "XML is
to replace HTML" people managed to scare away a lot of
potential XML users

Arjun Ray wrote [2]:

the authors [of a paper criticizing XML] do go wrong in
characterizing XML as a "mechanism for serializing structured
data", which is precisely where all the bad karma originates.

if the question is "a flexible, efficient, automated mechanism for
serializing structured data", then just about all of the time XML is
_not_ the answer.

But how about marking up documents - where free flowing text and
annotations are the rule [XML is well-suited to handle this]

So what does all that mean? Here's what I think Liam and Arjun are saying:

1. Use XML when you have complex documents, such as the kind of semi-structured documents that Word creates. So an XML encoding of a Word document is a good use of XML.

2. Use XML when you have free-flowing text and you want to periodically insert markup on certain portions (e.g., put a <name>...</name> tag around each name in a body of text). In XML terminology, these are "mixed content" documents.

3. XML is well-suited to data that needs to be archived and used 5, 10, 50 years from now.

4. XML is not well-suited as a data exchange format for web services. There are better formats for this, such as JSON, Protobufs, AVRO, Thrift.

5. XML + XSLT is not a good substitute for HTML.

That's how I interpret their comments. Is that how you interpret their comments? Do you agree with them?


[1] http://lists.xml.org/archives/xml-dev/201602/msg00005.html

[2] http://lists.xml.org/archives/xml-dev/201602/msg00011.html


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