[LINK] XML is evil

Richard Chirgwin rchirgwin at ozemail.com.au
Tue Nov 18 16:09:54 AEDT 2008

Rick Welykochy wrote:
> David Lochrin wrote:
>> The same goes for CSV.  While it might be easier to read a simple CSV
>> file directly compared with XML or ASN.1, I'll bet Richard, Rachel,
>> and Rick all used an application such as OO or MS WORD (:-)!
Hardly ever! ...most of my interaction with CSVs is related to
databases, and yes, I never read the CSV directly.
> I often create CSV data using perl/python scripts. This serves to
> export data from
> one app into another.
> I ask my clients to provide CSV data via a spreadsheet, which of
> course is
> far easier for them to maintain that plain old text. It is trivial to
> convert
> the spreadsheet to an actual CSV file for us in data import/export apps.
> I tend to agree with David. Data representation and maintenance of
> same is
> not a job for the uninitiated, regardless of the format. Most people I
> know
> who use computers do not even know what a text editor it. The mention of
> Notepad or Wordpad is greeted with blank stares. The mention of plain
> text
> vs HTML or XML is way beyond them. The number of people who *try* to
> create
> plain text documents in MS Word still astonishes me. We know who to blame
> for that one :(
> That said, if you ain't an expert and do wish to dabble in data
> formats as
> stored in files, you'll most likely need a tool to help you. Not many of
> us can read HTML and other markups.
The problem arises when someone who *doesn't* want to dabble in data
formats, like me, finds himself confronted with 80 MB of XML document,
and no particular help from the origin of the document to make it
accessible to any tool other than where it was created. So it is, I
agree with someone earlier, the originators of XML datasets who act like
ninnies, by assuming that some "other" tool somewhere out there will
take care of users and we can treat the dataset like an infinite sandbox.

> cheers
> rickw

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