In Defense of XML

I read a Reddit post defending the creators of the XML standard. This was focused on XML basics. It excluded fringe technologies such as WS-*, SOAP, XML-RPC, and RDF. The author acknowledged that a big part of XML was related standards like XML Schema and XQuery. However he declared that the main point of XML was standardizing a file format and creating a meta language. The best part of the post was the many comments that were received.

First let’s cover the bad. SOAP requests take forever to parse. XML parsing in general seems to be inefficient. It is slow for large data transfer. Most developers do not like XML. This may be due to the APIs like SAX and DOM being horrible.

That is quite a list of bad comments. But each of them, there was a corresponding good comment. XML has been applied to many domains. It is good for large and complex documentation. It is also good for configuration files. Microsoft Visual Studio has a nice XML editor built in. XML is essentially SGML for the web. In other words, it is meant for data transfer.

Initially I thought I would be involved in a new addition to our system that will parse XML input data. However I am finding that I am too busy with other new parts to our system this year. So I have not been as active in my XML studies since my training class ended. It is still nice to read what people in the XML industry have to say about the topic.