Inheritance in XML (was Re: Problems parsing XML)

Peter Murray-Rust peter at
Sat Apr 18 01:49:50 BST 1998

At 17:13 17/04/98 -0500, Jeff Larson wrote:
>However, lets say I'm the vendor of some relatively esoteric thing, and I
>need to design a file format to capture the state of my application.  Do
>I use XML?  Sure why not, but do I really gain anything from this?  The
>hackers with time on their hands are busy writing tools to edit RTF and
>DOOM levels, they don't care about my nuclear power plant application.  
>Even if someone did decide to write a nifty utility that operates on my
>files, if they get it wrong, then Cleveland starts glowing, so I probably
>don't want their help anyway.
This is actually a good example of where I think XML has a lot to offer. In
designing complex systems it is a good idea to re-use well-tested
components where possible. If, for example, your power station relies on
mathematics, physics, chemistry, safety protocols, etc. then it will make
sense to re-use those developed in a community-wide fashion. In an XML
document it is straightforward to detect the namespaces used and to
separate the components. I find it much easier to extract the separate
information components from an XML file than (say) an RTF document. 

I don't usually contribute to general discussions on XML-DEV but I'd like
to urge  members to think in terms of re-usable components wherever
possible. To what extent we can develop them here I don't know, but IMO it
represents a major advance over the proprietary approach. XML documents are
open in a way that many others aren't and are often much easier to dissect
than objects and relational data.


Peter Murray-Rust, Director Virtual School of Molecular Sciences, domestic
net connection
VSMS, Virtual Hyperglossary

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