RE: Why XML for Messaging?
The odd thing about this thread is that people are defending XML to me. I have a somewhat distinct memory of defending and promoting markup for some rather long period of time, and so far, most of these arguments are ones I've presented. This feels like a college debating team exercise. My points: 1. The thread is not about killing XML. It is about what might succeed it. I think that will happen. I doubt it will be soon, but sooner than we think. The dominant effect of the web has not been a radical improvement in technology; it has been a radical increase in the speed with which it is fielded and replaced in some areas, and settled into suboptimum minima in others. So as predicted in the NIST papers of the late 80's, it is doing what was predicted, following an annealing model. 2. I think XML for messaging is a good example of pop computer culture. The masses get an idea based on long tail politics and apply it widely. It works ok but not as well as other solutions might. It is standards for the sake of standards, or put otherwise, to save us the argument, we accept the suboptimum condition. http://shirky.com/writings/ontology_overrated.html Because of the pop culture (guys like Clay Shirky believe it is the only solution, but Shirky is himself, a very good example of pop culture at work since the majority of his articles are a good ten years behind the original thinkers), we get sub-optimum systems. For a mass market automobile, that's ok. For a mission critical system, it can be catastrophic. This is a buyer's market, so I don't see conspiracies here; just bean counter economics and the megaphone at work. (Carrie or Bo? Do you really care because next year you get to do it again?) I was curious about whether this list as a culture was thinking ahead. Apparently not. That isn't a slam as much as it is a confirmation that a) this is a pop culture and b) the pattern of innovation that has to be developed in isolation holds. What is learned? Because of what one observes from the Shirky Syndrome, it will be profitable to patent the research, apply it to big ticket items, then wait for the popular culture to need it and license it. The MPEG/MHEG style of consortia has legs. The W3C style of consortia will fade in importance. I'm not promoting; just observing and taking notes. I agree that one can challenge the 3-tier architecture but it is itself, a phenomenon that emerges as a result of percolation in the technologies, that is, the innovation creates the impedance mismatch just as local views shorten the lifecycle and reduce the scope of upper-level ontologies. No size fits all. Some sizes fit most. 3-tier may go away for awhile, but it will reemerge. len From: Didier PH Martin [mailto:martind@n...] Hello Len, I agree XML is not the most efficient format. We got more efficient formats in the past. But... a) We now have a common alphabet, still not a common language. Comparing this to actual tour of babel after several thousand of years, this is quite an accomplishment. b) The transformation tool (XSLT) that comes with it allows us to perform translation form one language to another. Even perform transformations into other syntax languages like for instance Java or ECMAScript. Moreover, we can even perform this transformation in most modern browsers. This is a tremendously useful tool for model to model transformations. c) Easier to debug. For anything returning an XML based format, its quite useful to use the browser to check the returned result set, easier to debug than with binary formats: for example, to debug a SQL/xml statement or an Xquery statement. I know, not a lot of tools out there are providing this, but slowly and surely more and more do. You know Len, for at least a couple of years and since new technologies take a veeeeeery looooong time to percolate in developers mind, I'll wait that more tool use XML as an interchange format. However, in the near future, I think it is more useful to challenge the actual three tiers architecture. The middle tier is used mainly to resolve the impedance mismatch between relational database and clients. Most of the time, tables and rows and transformed into objects and these objects used to feed data into dumb terminals through HTML; this time instead of having green screen we have colorful screen but still the same paradigm. New progress made on the relational DB front allows us now to talk directly to the RDB and get rid of the middle tier. For the moment, until we have more tools and developers waking up to XML, I wouldn't change the format (at least until it becomes really really pervasive) . But I think its time to provide richer environments to users and go beyond the mainframe architecture we are sticked with these days. So, if a don Quichote is in search of a windmill its better to attack the three tier architecture than the messaging format. Yes I know Len, big money, big players are too happy to make money with this actual architecture...
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