Is there anyone working on a binary version of XML?

David Megginson david at
Sat Mar 27 15:56:18 GMT 1999

Rick Jelliffe writes:

 > One trivial way to minimise file sizes for transmission is to
 > collapse white-space inside markup (e.g. [\ \t \n\ r]+ becomes
 > [\n]),

Yes, that might be helpful (but only minimally in most cases).

 > sure that newlines are not CR LF pairs, 

Yes, that will make a small difference.  You might get a bigger bang
by doing some quick analysis to determine which character encoding
will provide the smallest object size: UTF-8, ISO-8859-1, UTF-16,
etc. (mileage will vary depending on the languages used in the text).

 > and to minimize whitespace in data: (removing trailing spaces, [\
 > \t]+\n) becomes [\n], is a safe transformation, for example.)

No.  It might be a safe transformation for specific XML formats, but
not for XML in general, because you don't know what people might be
using that whitespace for.

In general, though, what we need is a transport layer that takes care
of things like this for us.  Document type designers should optimise
for readability and usability, and let protocol designers worry about
the optimisations.

All the best,


David Megginson                 david at

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