Celebrating 10 Years of XML

first_imgIn November 1996, the XML Working Group published the first working draft of the XML specification — a little more than 10 years ago.Over ten years XML has gained wide acceptance and been intertwined with other specifications too, like the SOAP technology used with Web Services.  XML databases and XML-based Content Management systems have evolved, and XML has proved invaluable for projects involving data integration and information aggregation.  XML has had strong support from majors like IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, and Sun.  IBM even dedicated one issue of their IBM System Journal to celebrate XML at 10.XML was created to satisfy the following ten goals:XML shall be straightforwardly usable over the InternetXML shall support a variety of applicationsXML shall be compatible with SGMLIt shall be easy to write programs which process XML documents.The number of optional features in XML is to be kept to the minimumXML documents should be human-legible and reasonably clearThe XML design should be prepared quicklyThe design of XML shall be formal and conciseXML documents shall be easy to createTerseness in XML markup is of minimal importanceGenerally, XML has had great success over the past ten years.  But it isn’t without criticism or challengers.  Perhaps the biggest criticism of XML is its verboseness and size.  Goal 10 above implies that this is not a goal and is not important.  The thinking is that because both storage and bandwidth capacities are growing so quickly that bulky XML transfers shouldn’t register as one of our concerns.But the size issue continues to plague XML.  One solution has been a proposal called Fast Infoset, a binary XML format that reduces size and also processing time.  Fast Infoset does this by leveraging concepts from a technology called XML Information Set and stores data in a binary format.  Fast Infoset documents are generally smaller and quicker to parse than their standard XML counterpart.The rapid rise of AJAX and Web 2.0 applications that involve many data exchanges between web servers and browsers has led to the development of JSON.  JSON works well with Javascript-based browser technology and transmits data that is can be immediately interpreted by the JavaScript language with little or no parsing.  JSON flavors also can work with many other computer languages like, Java, Perl, PHP, Python and Ruby.  In these applications JSON has a clear advantange, but JSON lacks the data-neutral characteristic that makes XML so powerful.It’s likely that XML will evolve, but XML in some form will be with us for a long time to come.last_img

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