5 Nov 2003 vdv   » (Master)

Long time again since my latest entry!

This morning, edd has posted a link on a mail from Linus Torvalds about XML which is good food for thoughts...

I dare you. Prove me wrong says he before a rant showing that good taste and simple syntax is a MILLION times more readable than XML.

The interesting point is that Torvalds is right (could it not be the case?) and that he is also wrong.

He is right that simple text formats can be easier to edit and easier to read than XML documents, especially if you edit them by hand. He is also in his rights if he want to use good taste and simple syntax.

He is wrong if he assumes that good taste and simple syntax will save him from XML!

What many people miss to see (especially amongst XML zealots) is that what's important with XML isn't the syntax, not the angle brackets...

That's not because Torvalds uses good taste and simple syntax for his configuration files that I can't take a couple of hours to write a SAX parser for good taste and simple syntax and validate Torvalds' configuration files through a RELAX NG schema written with the non XML compact syntax. Zero angle brackets here, but still a XML application!

Hmmm... XML is only syntax and its syntax isn't important?

That's the XML paradox. Maybe, what's really important in XML is the quest for interoperability which has followed its publication. Maybe, after all, XML is a principle and not a technology?

BTW, have you noticed how straightforwardly Torvalds' demonstration can be applied to programming languages to show that Python (good taste and simple syntax) is a MILLION times more readable than C, Java or C# to name few?

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