Will XML eat the web?

Matthew Sergeant (EML) Matthew.Sergeant at eml.ericsson.se
Thu Jan 28 17:40:59 GMT 1999

XML is potentially a web "killer application" in more ways than one. Let's
examine 2 scenarios - server based XML processing and client based XML

Server based XML processing

Here we process XML on the server to produce HTML. This will be where the
majority of XML processing occurs for web applications, since reliance on
the 5.0 web browsers is going to be low for a long time. XML processing is a
resource hog. There's not really much you can do about it. Sure, you can use
DCOM or Corba to distribute processing your XML across several servers -
that's throwing hardware at the problem - not always the best solution. You
can use a persistent parsed structure like a DOM maintained in memory, but
for some applications such as a rapidly changing XML database this isn't
always feasible (or is it?). Currently our web based XML system processes
about 5 files per second (very subjective figures) - and it's at max CPU
(it's only a Pii266). This is using expat. Not a good situation since I
could probably build a much faster application using an RDBMS - but I'm
looking to the future when I can send the raw XML to the client.

Processing XML on the client

This is a much better option, but an option that doesn't always exist.
However if I'm sending XML to the client, for example a large database of
products, wouldn't the client machine then get bogged down processing the
XML? (I don't know - we haven't got that far yet).

Anyway, I'd like to hear people's comments on solving this potential issue,
and whether they think choosing XML for the web was a good choice at this
stage in browser development.

(please note: I'm a big fan of XML - it has huge potential, and I would
appreciate any help I can get in making this application faster)

Perl on Win32, PerlScript, ASP, Database, XML
GCS(GAT) d+ s:+ a-- C++ UL++>UL+++$ P++++$ E- W+++ N++ w--@$ O- M-- !V 
!PS !PE Y+ PGP- t+ 5 R tv+ X++ b+ DI++ D G-- e++ h--->z+++ R+++

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