On a more pleasant note

Tim Bray tbray at textuality.com
Fri Sep 17 19:50:23 BST 1999

There's been a lot of angst around here recently.  On a countervailing note:
I am building this big hairy complicated app in which a web server traverses 
an extremely complex database, extracts some dense information structures, 
sends them to a client, and the client does some nifty rendition tricks.

Building the database is hard.  Traversing the database is hard.  Doing the
rendition on the client is hard.  But generating the message on the server
takes one little C subroutine (printf calls, nothing fancy), and extracting 
the information from it on the client (using an XML parser, it doesn't 
matter which) is one little Java routine.  The client-side worked first 
time, the server-side on the second (I wasn't escaping some &'s properly, 
which the XML parser on the client caught first time through).  All the 
rest is done by Apache and Linux and Windows and TCP/IP and HTTP and 
java.net.URL and the XML parser.  It took maybe an hour to build both sides.

Seems to me that this is the right way to build distributed applications.


PS: In the XML I'm sending out from the server, I am embedding some human
readable text encoded, obviously enough, in HTML.  What would be a good way
to distinguish it from my own XML tags so that I can extract it and feed
it to the HTML renderer?  Any suggestions?

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