[LINK] XML is evil

Rick Welykochy rick at praxis.com.au
Tue Nov 18 16:34:05 AEDT 2008

grove at zeta.org.au wrote:

> 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.

Apple is doing exactly the same thing in Darwin on OS X. They've moved away
from, as you say, easy to edit and contemplate (and automate) plain text
config files and scripts to a complex mess of XML, GUI tools for the XML,
a viewer for the XML, etc.etc. (see: plists)

Example: one used to be able to turn of the vile resource hog on OS X called
Spotlight by adding this line to a file in /etc/hostconfig


Then without notification or any fanfare, they removed this ability and
replaced it with a plist file. You must create a new XML file containing
all sorts of crud in it, run a system utility to load that file and cross
your fingers that it worked. If it doesn't, dive into the GUI tools and
try to fix it. It's a real crock of snakes now.

The few plists (XML) that I have looked at could trivially be translated
to a flat file by a child. The only useful information they contain labels
and simple text variables that are numeric, text or URLs. The rest is XML
crud to make life for sysadmins miserable.

It's a good example of over-engineering for its own sake.


Rick Welykochy || Praxis Services

Tis the dream of each programmer before his life is done,
To write three lines of APL and make the damn thing run.

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