Re: Pushing all the buttons
[Quoting from Bray, St. Laurent, and de Hora ...] > >>Pelegri-Llopart said "The main point here is there > is almost an order > >>of magnitude between straightforward Web services > using XML encoding > >>and an implementation that takes care of binary > encoding." Is anyone disagreeing with that assertion? I hear it from a lot of apparently independent sources. Presumably we'll see data at the "Binary Infoset Serialization" workshop next week. > > It makes sense to me, given the low-to-negative > value that most > > developers of projects in that space give to XML > as anything beyond > > "something which has lots of toolkits". Uhh, yeah. There are a lot of tools that work off some variation of the XML Infoset (DOM, XSLT, XQuery, SOAP ...). > > Fwiw, time invested in XML parsing would pay > dividends. > Crimson/Xerces ain't nothing to write home about and > they seem to > have the lions share of deployments in Java-land. Not in Web Service land, AFAIK. The WS tool vendors, or at least those who go for the high-volume, industrial strength market, write their own SOAP-optimized parsers. > > Find a customer and imagine which you think they > want to hear- "yes > its slower but it'll be up in 12 weeks, cheap and > cheerful, and > anybody in oppers can read what's coming in off the > wire", or "yes > it blazes but it'll take six months cost more, and > no, oppers won't > be able to understand anything". "Oppers" == "operations staff trying to debug the bloody thing" ??? :-) This (and Simon's point about tools) raises a very interesting question: is the more-or-less-indisputable fact that one can get an XML distributed app up and running much faster than a proprietary-format distributed app due to the standards-ness of XML or the text-ness of XML? If you took away the text-ness but put an alternate standard (or two, or some very small number of standards) in its place, how much of this implementation efficiency would you lose? How much time do "oppers" really spend debugging XML streams, and would their productivity suffer if they had to use some little tool rather than Notepad do so? [Not a rhetorical question ... I really don't have an opinion on this]. > > If there are plenty of customers who are deeply > concerned about > performance then maybe this work has value, but I > still think > optimizing the parsers is a better strategy, There are an awful lot of people out there working on closed source optimized SOAP-XML parsers, again AFAIK. I have enough faith that Sun hires sensible people to be fairly sure they tried this before -- probably reluctantly -- concluding that ASN.1 has a lot of advantages IN THE SPECIAL CASE where all parties know the schema of the data on the wire. In the case of SOAP, the middleware doesn't have to know the schema of the SOAP body, just that of the headers that it understands (e.g. WS-Security, for firewalls). > even if you proved > it wasn't, I think I'd look for a briefer text > format first > (xml2rnc for example), before I'd get into binary > codecs. Yup. It would definitely be interesting to see if something akin to RNC might be both more human-readable and more machine-efficient as an Infoset serialization format, at least for certain niches. As best I know, the big win for truly binary XML serializations is in avoiding the overhead of the Unicode-encoded text to UCS-character translation. Does anyone take issue with the assertion that the external encoding-> Unicode text translation is generally a significant portion of XML parsing time? Of course, the big downside for all alternative serializations is that they seriously limit interoperability. But remember that the whole POINT of this "efficient alternate serialization of the Infoset" stuff is to buy performance at the cost of some interoperability, to be used in specifically in situations where the pain of worse performance is worse than the pain of lower interoperability. And the whole point of standardizing a small number of alternative serializations would be to get some of that interoperability back.
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