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RE: terra incognita

terra incognita definitions

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Gavin Thomas Nicol [mailto:gtn@r...]
> Sent: Wednesday, December 19, 2001 12:33 PM
> To: xml-dev@l...
> Subject: Re:  terra incognita
> I think SOAP/XML-RPC/.Net etc all point to an unfulfilled 
> need in the market  more than anything else. People want to leverage
> networking, and  want more flexible/open RPC mechanisms than CORBA et al. 
> provide. That is  very different from needing HTTP and XML.

I don't think we really disagree.  Computers were invented for number
crunching, and ended up being used primarily for text processing (word
processing, email, web browsing).  Telephones were invented for humans to
talk to humans, and later were "abused" by modems, voicemail, voice-response
interfaces to computers, mobile phones with a little web browser, text
messaging, etc.

People need flexible/open networking to exchange objects or data between
applications.  They look around and see that HTTP is everywhere and it works
good enough for the networking layer, and they see that XML is flexible and
(almost) good enough for the flexible object serialization/data exchange
layer. Sure, they don't "need" HTTP and XML, but both are more or less free,
and more or less universal.  Why even bother complaining that they aren't
the Right Thing since Worse is Better wins every time? <grin>

Seriously, and getting back to Simon's original point when he originated
this thread: XML (1.0 or 1.1 as presently conceived) is far from perfect as
a serialization format for objects or binary data. BUT once the data is in
XML, it is (in principle) liberated from the application or class
definitions that produced it.  One might think of some SOAP message as a
kludgy serialization of some business object, but for others it's an XML
"document" that they can whack on with
XPath/XQuery/XSLT/SAX/DOM/RDF/godonlyknowswhat.  THAT's the real power of
XML as an object serialization format, and this totally overwhelms its
limitations ... at least today.  If someday there are cheap, ubiquitous
ASN.1 tools  for parsing, transformation, manipulation, display, and
querying, then this advantage of XML goes away, and we'll be arguing about
this on ASN-DEV or whatever.


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