A little more wisdom

“XML is like violence: if it doesn’t solve your problem, you’re not using enough of it. ;-)”
(from a discussion of the misuse of XML — is there any other use of XML than abject obfuscation?
from http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/001114.html )

“If we can’t fix it, we won’t!”
(sign on a repair shop in Disneyland’s Toon Town)

“Of course my code doesn’t have comments.”
(someone who I couldn’t tell if they were serious or not.  I think they were.  I haven’t looked at the code yet).


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0 Responses to A little more wisdom

  1. Tom says:

    XML irritates me too. I regularly use a tool that assembles flash images from an XML config file which is unbelievably obfuscated. It’s bizarre really. For configuration files ini files or command line syntax in a file would be easier to edit and faster to parse. And for documents binary files are much more compact and much faster to read and write.

    Now people say that you can compress XML. But you can compress binary files too. Or that CPU load doesn’t matter now that CPUs are so fast. But that’s one of those things which can stop being true quite suddenly, e.g. on a heavily loaded web server or if your windows app runs on a terminal server, or if you want to decode something on an embedded system with a slow CPU. And if that happens you’ll regret not picking the most efficient format.

    I think it’s one of those “Web 2.0” things where people make a lot of noise about being geeks and nerds but because they come from a Java background they don’t really understand efficiency. So they build systems out of a load of building blocks which are really terribly inefficient by the standards of embedded programming or early Windows code. Even more annoyingly when you tell them about the subtle performance tricks in those environments they dismiss them as hacks without bothering to learn why they worked.

  2. landon says:

    There’s a binary XML standard, but I honestly don’t know why. It doesn’t make traversing the information any faster (that I can tell).

    The thing about “XML being parsed for you” is a misnomer, because you generally have to write *some* kind of interpreter. Usually I just dump the XML into a hash table or something.

    At some point I’ll have a retrospective on the data structure system we did at Wayfarer (the first start-up I was at, after leaving Apple). It was essentially a highly efficient cross-platform JSON-like architecture that we used for messaging, internal application structures, persistence, configuration files, and lots of other stuff; very flexible, incredibly easy to use, and I miss it a lot.

  3. nevyn says:

    YAML FTW! 🙂 XML makes me slightly nauseous.