RFC: Attributes and XML-RPC

Hunter, David dhunter at Mobility.com
Wed Sep 22 18:18:08 BST 1999

From: Tyler Baker [mailto:tyler at infinet.com]
Sent: Tuesday, September 21, 1999 8:45 PM
> Several compression formats would in effect eliminate any 
> significant difference between using
> elements or attributes. One compression format that comes to 
> mind is LZW, but it is too bad
> that it is patented by the people "Who eat, sleep, and drink 
> this stuff" (-:

I'm not sure that we can dismiss this argument on the basis of compression.
The "attributes only" version was only about 65% the size of the elements
version; with larger element names and larger more realistic XML examples, I
can easily see this coming closer to 50% difference.  In fact, I'm working
on an application right now where we have an object model to capture all of
our information, which serializes itself to XML.  We're using all elements
for our XML, no attributes.  I took some typical XML and it was 4.68KB,
whereas if I go through the XML and change all of the elements to
attributes, with the only elements now being child objects, my XML size goes
down to 2.64KB, which is very close to the 50% mark indeed.  So even if you
compress the files, the attribute version will be able to compress to 50%
smaller than the other file.  Again, 2KB isn't a lot, but if we're talking
megabytes in size, 50% is a lot.

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