What is XML for?

David Megginson david at megginson.com
Fri Jan 29 19:13:09 GMT 1999

Simon St.Laurent writes:

 > XML is not just a file format any more, or an interchange format.
 > XML describes a set of structures that are extremely generic, and
 > which map very well to a wide variety of structures used in data
 > processing.

Actually, strictly speaking, XML 1.0 *is* just a file format, or more
accurately, a meta-format.  As soon as an XML document is converted
into SAX events or a DOM tree or SQL tables or persistent objects or
anything else, it's not XML anymore (though it can, perhaps, be
written back out as XML, depending on the application).

The question that we're discussing is not whether the rich recursive
and hierarchical structures that XML can model are useful (I know from
eight years' experience that they are), but rather, whether XML itself
-- that is, text files conforming to XML 1.0 -- should be used as the
primary storage medium for large applications. 

All the best,


David Megginson                 david at megginson.com

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