[LINK] XML is evil

grove at zeta.org.au grove at zeta.org.au
Tue Nov 18 16:20:41 AEDT 2008

On Tue, 18 Nov 2008, Richard Chirgwin wrote:

> 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.

I am finding this especially with debugging Sun XML manifests in Solaris 10,
where previously you had a shell script and a text config file, 
now you have a series of commands, that reads the XML description of 
the service in then executes the script.  If you edit the XML 
and then import it using the special commands and the XML has even 
a tiny bit of whitespace in the wrong place - it breaks.  So I then load 
the XML into a specialised editor - it parses OK but the Sun import 
still rejects it.   Then if you open it in vi or something, you 
still cannot see the problem.    So you are stuck with a couple of tools
that may or may not need a GUI, may or may not report an error 
if there is one and may or may not reformat your file correctly.  And 
if you are in a DR situation, you do not want to be editing XML, 
in any case.   Why why why I ask....  simple is best.  XML is overengineered
and any product that relies on it for system integrity is too.

I am happy to use products that rely on XML for non-critical 
projects, but anything that relies on a special parser being available 
is guff.  XML is not portable in these instances, is not "future proof" 
and not conducive to quiet contemplation unlike simple config files.


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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