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XML and its Serious Features

January 18th, 2007

Don Box provides an amusing summary of XML vs. JSON that serves as a good back-cover to the recent iteration of this particular pointless debate.

What I find interesting about this is that none of these features that justifiably frustrate reasonable users of XML are required. You can happily use XML as a format for yourself without cluttering it up with any of this cruft. The phenomenon, in fact, is that seeing an ugly, inelegant usage of the technology actually dissuades people from using it in a simpler way.

The same effect can be seen in many of the Ruby on Rails vs. Java debates for building websites. While RoR has many merits, some of the arguments against Java highlight specific examples of Java usage as evidence against its worthiness as a language. Clearly, drawing such conclusions is unfair, but it is consistent with the way of the world in other matters. Consider, for example, companies not wanting their brand associated with anything they deem as inappropriate, or negative. That the same brand management is important to technology, with it’s ostensible attendant objectivism, is surprising. Perhaps the best way to kill a technology you don’t like is to use it in the construction of a notably unpleasant program.

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