Other things I don't get (WAS: Re: A Joeish Erlang distribution (long))

unknown <>
Wed Jan 29 10:48:52 CET 2003

>   Regarding parlay they have now started to publish xml/soap interfaces.

Yea, the pinnacle of pro SOAP argumentation was that it is especially
suited to tunnel those "pesky" firewalls which hinder work done anyway. :)
This led to some nice sarcastic comment by crypto expert Bruce Schneier.

Another argument is that an ASCII format is easier to work with than
a binary format. After writing some longish JNLP descriptors for Java 
Web Start and adapting/changing them a bit over time on the app server,
errors started to creep in. I had to check them with a validator to
ensure their correctness. It is not HTML after all, where browsers are
programmed to be fault tolerant to a large degree, a working XML 
file must be 100% correct. This is already hard with manually maintained
XML files of certain size. 
Maschine generated XML tends to be completely unreadable and even
cranking that stuff through a beautifier is not always a help.
So I tend to think that non trivial XML is an order less unreadble than
a binary format, but it is still unreadable. :)

>   xml/soap for traffical interfaces is even more bizarro.               

The JXTA suite of Peer 2 Peer protocols is using XML. 

> I asked a colleague the other day if he could explain one good thing  
> with xml and the funny thing is that he was totally confused about    
> this too.                                                             

I too think that XML is just a glorified way to store attributed 
trees in ASCII but..

In the Java world XML is *very* common. APIs for parsing and storing
the stuff in a DOM are built in the system. Lots of data formats
are XML now (I had to work with JNLP and Java Help), many frame
works use it for storage. Example code to use that stuff is available. 
This makes it very easy for a Java programmer to work with XML data
and give him the perceiption that this is a natural way to do things.
If these XML techniques are more useful than an approach based on 
some common binary format (like CORBA IDL), I don't know. 
My strong feeling is that the XML approach wastes lots of clock 
cycles and RAM cells.
But XML and related stuff like XSLT transformation are in fashion,
they look good on your resume and you are unlikely to get fired
for using them thus for whatever voodoo reason it gets used,
and that is all that matters, I fear.
And to be honest, I am not sure if alternatives are developed
as well. The transformation of one kind of XML in another for 
example is not a bad thing (e.g. docbook/xml to Java Help XML
conversion). Is there any systematic conversion for binary
based formats?


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