[LINK] XML is evil

grove at zeta.org.au grove at zeta.org.au
Fri Nov 7 21:07:00 AEDT 2008

On Fri, 7 Nov 2008, Richard Chirgwin wrote:

> Linkers,
> I've tried to see things in the light of standardisation, extensibility
> and power, and I can't. XML is evil.

Hooooray!   Finally I am not alone.    It is almost heresy 
to make such statements and I have felt very isolated as a result.

Every new application or tool seems to evolve to having some sort 
of XML component, for no particular reason I can give.   And you are 
correct.  It obfuscates needlessly with hierarchical guff where all 
you really need are name:value pairs and maybe even a [section] header.


> Just two examples.
> If I buy the ABS CDs, I get hundreds of CSV files, which with a little
> script that took an hour to work out, once, I can import into a database
> in very little time at all. The data set is huge, but everything works
> easy-as.
> Openstreetmap.org allows you to export maps. In X-M-damn-L. You need a
> parser to do anything with the data, of which there are several, none of
> which work properly. You cannot, without first studying XML and poring
> over the schema, do anything off your own bat with the data. You can't
> load the data into a database without a parser, which won't work
> properly. You can't put the data into a GIS without a parser, which
> won't work properly.
> And this is my universal, unfailing, every-damn-time I try to do
> anything involving XML, experience with this horrid language. It's used
> for the definitions of Web mapping servers, which means that almost all
> of them are subtly incompatible with each other, so you have to do
> everything brand-new every time.
> XML's only practical role is to obfuscate: to make data inaccessible
> except to the tiny bloody elite of people who (a) give a stuff about XML
> enough to study it, (b) actually understand it, and (c) like spending
> their lives revising everything to keep pace with stupid incremental
> changes in someone's XML schema because someone says "we forgot a tag
> for user's alias which nobody's going to use but we ought to have anyhow".
> In short, XML has become the plaything of idiots, and is seriously
> hampering access to data by a wider audience. What a dog it turned out
> to be.
> As boring-old-CSV, data is accessible and portable. XML is not. How did
> it get this way?
> Richard C
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Rachel Polanskis                 Kingswood, Greater Western Sydney, Australia
grove at zeta.org.au                http://www.zeta.org.au/~grove/grove.html
 		The price of greatness is responsibility.

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