XML

Ben Finney bignose-hates-spam at and-zip-does-too.com.au
Mon Jun 23 13:30:03 CEST 2003


On 23 Jun 2003 02:42:49 -0700, Paul Boddie wrote:
> it is fair to say that claiming the suitability of [ASCII plain text]
> because "there are a lot of parsers which use it" is analogous to
> telling a Japanese person that they only need to know the Latin
> alphabet to be able to understand most Western languages.

Good thing nobody's tried to claim that then.  I raised the issue of
ASCII plain text to refute the claim that HTML was the "most widely used
document format".  I make no necessarily related claim about
suitability.

In fact, I raised awareness of the "most widely used document format"
issue to show that just because something is widely used, doesn't
necessarily mean it's suitable in all the place it's used.

Plain text ASCII is great as far as it goes, but for structured data,
a threshold is usually reached where something more complex is needed.
When it is, XML -- encoded as plain ASCII, or some other standard text
encoding -- is a prime choice, in my book.

> There are some pretty solid reasons for choosing XML to represent
> data.

I agree with most of them, and am in favour of choosing XML when
interchangeable, structured data is needed.

(I'm always tempted to leave out the "interchangeable" -- isn't data
essentially useless unless it can be interchanged? -- but then I recall
proprietary formats that enforce vendor lock-in by deliberately
obstructing interchangeability, and realise it still needs to be made
explicit.)

-- 
 \      "One seldom discovers a true believer that is worth knowing."  |
  `\                                               -- Henry L. Mencken |
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