Chris's Rants

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A floor wax AND a dessert topping

Joe Gregorio rips apart the new charter for the W3C Efficient XML Interchange Working Group
Scope and Goals

XML has been enormously successful as a markup language for documents and data, { So let's start screwing with it! } but is not an optimal format for all purposes. { Really? You mean it's not a floor wax and dessert topping? Let's be clear, XML isn't for all applications. If it doesn't fit your needs don't use it! }
I had an interesting discussion with John Schneider at XML 2005 last week about this topic. He was rattling off usage scenarios such as DoD applications where compression alone wasn't sufficient: "because the messages exchanged are small and don't compress well". I nearly needed to be picked up off the floor I was laughing so hard inside. Let's see, the DoD will likely be applying message-level security... last time I checked, even a "ping" message that was signed and encrypted would be around 6kb, and compresses (zip) down to just under 1.5kb (76%). Then, there is the niggling issue that in order to sign/encrypt a message, you need more than just the infoset, you need the canonical lexical representation anyway, so what you might have saved in terms of performance of databinding XML to primitive datatypes is lost, because you have to reconstruct the canonical lexical representation to decrypt and validate anyway.

IMO, there is no silver bullet.


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