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  • From: Peter Flynn <peter@silmaril.ie>
  • To: xml-dev@lists.xml.org
  • Date: Mon, 21 Aug 2017 17:47:31 +0100

Re:  XML vs JSON
On 21/08/17 09:44, Michael Kay wrote:
>> A document-oriented XML document looks more like an HTML page with
>> mixed content, XHTML and docbook being two prominent examples:
>> <paragraph>This is <bold>bold</bold> text and this is
>> <italic>italic</italic> text</paragraph>
> I like to say that the defining characteristic of pure
> document-oriented XML (I sometimes call it "narrative XML") is that
> if you remove the markup, you are left with meaningful human-readable
> text.

Unless you are using TEI P5, where it has become much harder to do this
than it was in P4. I consider this a design flaw, but I am but a pelican
in the wilderness in that field now.

> And I always felt that the reason XML became so popular was not its
> ability to handle pure narrative XML, but its ability to mix
> structured data and textual narrative in a single message. So often
> (consider a CV/resume) you want to handle both at the same time. XML
> thus brought document processing capability to the data processing
> masses; and by reverting to JSON, the data processing masses are
> saying "that's too difficult for us to cope with".

Basically, yes. They don't understand markup because it's not a
programming language (pace XSL).

We also should not forget that XML-DATA was a latecomer to the party
when XML was being assembled. Lots of people jumped on that bandwagon
because it leveraged an existing technology, so you appeared to get the
ride for free. But doing so actually meant inheriting all the features
needed for document-oriented XML, and *that*'s what upset the
programmers. The most frequently-quoted objection was "IDs have to start
with a letter? What kind of **** is this? Ours all begin with digits..."

I, for one, would be only too happy to see rectangular data migrated to
our new JSON overlords, as I wouldn't have to deal with the nonsensical
rubbish I get handed on a daily basis (what Sebastian Rahtz once
referred to as "a spurious collection of tag-like objects masquerading
as XML" :-)


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