RE: [LEAPSECS] mining for data about time

From: Seeds, Glen <Glen.Seeds_at_Cognos.COM>
Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2003 09:20:33 -0400

People who make statements such as this understand neither XML, nor the huge
range of problems that are being successfully solved with it today.

No encoding system is without fault, and XML does have characteristics that
make it undesirable in many applications. However, when you have a modest
amount of data that must be distributed to a large number of users at arm's
length, XML's robustness, coupled with its ability to be self-documenting,
are assets that tend to set it above most alternatives.

A common criticism of XM is its verbosity. However, I have just completed a
major project that took an application that used a binary internal
representation and re-wrote it to use XML. The result required 80% less
code, produced files that were 5-100 times smaller, and ran 5-100 times
faster. While not all of this was directly attributable to the change in
representation, most of it was. Such results seem counter-intuitive, but are
nevertheless real.


-----Original Message-----
From: Markus Kuhn [mailto:Markus.Kuhn_at_CL.CAM.AC.UK]
Sent: August 15, 2003 9:16 AM
Subject: Re: [LEAPSECS] mining for data about time

Steve Allen wrote on 2003-08-15 05:52 UTC:
> Is anyone looking into providing these data as XML?

What benefits would a monster such as XML add here, apart from adding a
rather baroque syntax to otherwise fairly easy to read and parse flat
table data?

Instead of "as XML", you probably mean "in a well-specified file
format". There are many ways to specify file formats, and XML is
arguable one of the more ugly and difficult to use choices on the
market, especially if there is nothing structurewise in your data that
warrants the use of anything more complex than a regular expression
grammar (the simplest level of the Chomsky hierarchy).

[Or to rephrase the late Roger Needham: If you think XML is the solution to
your problem, you probably have neither understood XML, nor your problem.]

If someone wants to specify a nicer EOP file format, please use some
very simple single-record-per-ASCII-line syntax (e.g., comma separated
values, etc.) that can be parsed trivially with a simple single-line
Perl or Awk regular expression.


Markus Kuhn, Computer Lab, Univ of Cambridge, GB | __oo_O..O_oo__
Join us at Cognos' biggest event of the year Enterprise 2003, The Cognos
Business Forum.  Taking place in over 25 cities around the world, it's an
opportunity for Business and IT leaders to learn about strategies for
driving performance. Visit for more
This message may contain privileged and/or confidential information.  If you
have received this e-mail in error or are not the intended recipient, you
may not use, copy, disseminate or distribute it; do not open any
attachments, delete it immediately from your system and notify the sender
promptly by e-mail that you have done so.  Thank you.
Received on Mon Aug 18 2003 - 06:42:50 PDT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Sat Sep 04 2010 - 09:44:54 PDT