Storing Lots of Fiddly Bits (was Re: What is XML for?)

Paul Prescod paul at
Mon Feb 8 18:47:08 GMT 1999

Marcelo Cantos wrote:
> ... [best of both worlds] ...
> You get a nice object oriented layer on
> top to talk to, and an industrial strength, robust repository
> underneath.
> Your comments give me the impression that this is unacceptable to you
> in the XML/heirarchical universe.  You don't want DOM at any level.
> You insist on going straight to objects.  It is not even good enough
> to build an object layer on top of the DOM layer.  I find this a
> little implausible and hence am certain that you had something else in
> mind.  Is it rather that you simply don't care what the underlying API
> is, that you are only interested in what happens at the object level?

If I had evidence that a bottom-level XML/"DOM" layer would "buy me" an
industrial strength, robust repository then I would go for it. As you have
pointed out, I can cover up the ugliness with objects. But to me, an
industrial strength, robust repository implies sophisticated tree-smart
*and* link-smart ad hoc query support. The DOM isn't a query language and
doesn't (AFAIK) have a query interface. It might be okay as an API to the
results of a query but even there I'm leery...

Since trees can be built as a special case of links, I tend to look for
such a beast to come out of the OO world (where links are usually primary)
instead of the text processing world (where the tree is usually primary).
Maybe you guys at can surprise me though.

But note that a DOM-on-the-bottom is the opposite of the architecture that
I am speaking out against. I'm concerned about people who want to layer
the DOM on "top" of things that do not look substantially like XML. In
that case you are covering up an optimized, purpose-built abstaction with
a homogenized "dumb tree" layer. That's a step backwards. Note that even
the DOM creators do not view an XML-DOM as a "universal tree API." That's
why there are several variants of the DOM -- for XML, HTML, CSS etc.
 Paul Prescod  - ISOGEN Consulting Engineer speaking for only himself

"Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did,
but she did it backwards and in high heels."
                                               --Faith Whittlesey

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