XML Isn’t Just a Data Format?

Clemens Vasters writes;

I am sorry to say that, but if today you still believe and insist that XML is just another data format, the train may already have left the station for you.

Well, then I guess my train is long gone. Ouch. Sorry Clemens, but XML is just a data format. Now, good data formats like XML are nothing to sneeze at, and I’m glad we have it, just like I’m glad we have/had ASCII. But for heaven’s sake, it’s just syntax, a context free grammar.

He also stated;

One of the core messages of my talk is that the XML InfoSet is the focus of integration.

IMO, this is like saying C structs are the focus of integration. Ok, so you and I agree on what one is, and perhaps even how its represented. Now what? How do we integrate? We can’t, at least with just that shared knowledge. If we also shared a model for how to identify, exchange, and manipulate them, then that could form a focus for integration. Which is, of course, akin to what REST tries to do around a more general abstraction called a resource.

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