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Re: {mark} - a new simple notation that unifies JSON and XML

  • From: Michael Kay <mike@saxonica.com>
  • To: Henry Luo <henry@perpetuatech.net>
  • Date: Thu, 25 Jan 2018 17:24:36 +0000

Re:  {mark} - a new simple notation that unifies JSON and XML

It's not clear what mixed content ends up looking like: getting that right is one of the key design challenges.

Getting critical mass in terms of take-up of an idea like this is not easy. Preconditions include:

* a clean design
* open source implementations for a sufficient number of important platforms
* a strong recognition in the user community that existing solutions aren't good enough
* early influential adopters
* a competitive technology stack including tools for authoring, editing, validating, transforming
* a large amount of luck

Michael Kay
Saxonica


On 25 Jan 2018, at 16:43, Henry Luo <henry@perpetuatech.net> wrote:

Dear all,

I am happy to announce the first public beta release of Mark - a simple notation that unifies JSON and XML.

You can find out more about it at https://mark.js.org/

Objective Markup Notation, abbreviated as Mark or {mark}, is a new unified notation for both object and markup data. The notation is a superset of what can be represented by JSON, HTML and XML, but overcomes many limitations these popular data formats, yet still having a very clean syntax and simple data model.

Mark Sample

Below is a sample Mark object, representing a simple registration form:

{form                                   // object type-name 'form'
  {!-- comment --}                      // Mark pragma, similar to HTML comment
  {div class:"form-group"               // nested Mark object
    {label for:"email"                  // object with property 'for'
      "Email address:"                  // text needs to be quoted
    }
    {input type:"email", id:"email"}    // object without any contents
  }
  {div class:"form-group"
    {label for:"pwd" "Password"}
    {input type:"password", id:"pwd"}
  }
  {button class:['btn','btn-info']      // property with complex values
    'Submit'                            // text quoted with single quote
  }
}

Mark Data Model

Mark object has a very clean and simple data model. Each Mark object has 3 facets of data:

  • Type name, which is mapped to object.constructor.name under _javascript_.
  • Properties, which is a collection of key-value pairs, stored as normal _javascript_ named properties.
  • Contents, which is a list of content objects, stored as indexed properties inside the same _javascript_ object.

Mark utilizes a novel feature in _javascript_ that a plain JS object is actually array-like. It can contain both named properties and indexed properties.

Mark vs. JSON

Mark is a superset of JSON. It extends JSON notation with a type-name, and a list of content objects. Comparing to JSON, Mark has the following advantages:

  • It has a type-name, which is important in identifying what the data represents; whereas JSON is actually an anonymous object, missing the type name.
  • It can have nested content, which is common in all markup formats, and thus allows Mark to convenient represent document-oriented data, which is awkward for JSON.
  • It incorporates most of the enhancements of JSON5 to JSON (e.g. allowing comments, property name without quotes, etc.), and makes the format more friendly for human.

Some disadvantages of Mark, comparing to JSON would be:

  • It is no longer a strict subset of _javascript_ in syntax, although a Mark object is still a simple POJO.
  • It does not yet have wide support, like JSON, at the moment.

Mark vs. XML

Comparing to XML, Mark has the following advantages:

  • Mark properties can have complex object as value; whereas XML attribute values always need to be quoted and cannot have complex object as value, which is not flexible in syntax and data model.
  • Mark syntax is much cleaner than XML. It does not have all the legacy things like DTD, and it does not have whitespace ambiguity.
  • The data model produced by Mark is fully typed, like JSON; whereas XML is only semi-typed without schema.

What do you think?

With an unified notation and data model, one set of tools (parser, selector, query, validator, transformer, ...) can be used to process data previously stored in JSON, HTML or XML.

Do you thing Mark is a better generic data format than JSON or XML? Do you think it is worth all the effort to migrate to this new notation? ...

Looking forward to hear your feedback!

Regards

Henry





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