XML vs. CORBA (was RE: Alternatives to browsers)

Simon St.Laurent simonstl at simonstl.com
Tue Jan 18 18:53:25 GMT 2000

At 03:56 PM 1/18/00 +0000, Miles Sabin wrote:
>I'm having trouble seeing why XML over HTTP is preferable to
>eg. CORBA or Java RMI (maybe tunneled through HTTP if there's
>a need to traverse firewalls) for application specific comms.
>How is application specific markup better than an application
>specific binary wire protocol?

As others have said here already, XML isn't preferable in a lot of
case-by-case situations.  On the other hand, defining data formats for
interchange makes it much easier for different developers to choose
different transport mechanisms at will, without being trapped in a single
large and complex environment.

At 06:37 PM 1/18/00 +0000, Miles Sabin wrote:
>If you've got CORBA/RMI/DCOM clients and servers on both ends 
>why would you want to take a detour via XML over HTTP (other 
>than for firewall traversal). The generated XML would be about 
>as illuminating (and as helpful for interoperation) as running
>a binary executable through a disassembler.

If you already have that infrastructure on both ends, I doubt there's much
value in changing it over to XML/HTTP.  On the other hand, if you don't
have that infrastructure on both ends, or are faced with supporting it in a
diverse set of environments, I would strongly urge you take a look at XML.

Even if you're talking about straight object-to-object communication, tools
like JXML's Quick let you handle that communication in ways that are much
more interesting than disassembled binary material.  Sun's latest moves
toward using XML for Java object persistence in 1.3 may provide similar
food for thought.

For me, the key aspect that XML provides - and other solutions don't - is
that XML can be made to work in nearly any vaguely modern computing
environment, with a relatively small overhead.  There may be more work to
do as far as connecting the XML information to your applications, but
you'll be able to do it when and how you feel appropriate, without needing
much infrastructure.

Simon St.Laurent
XML Elements of Style / XML: A Primer, 2nd Ed.
Building XML Applications
Inside XML DTDs: Scientific and Technical
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