Alternatives to browsers (was Re: Alternatives to the W3C)

Didier PH Martin martind at
Tue Jan 18 20:16:21 GMT 2000

Hi Sabin,

Sabin said:
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.

I think this is a case of horses for courses ... both XML over
HTTP and CORBA/RMI/DCOM have useful jobs to do, but I don't
think either can make the other redundant.

Didier replies:
There is an hidden asset in using XML as a marshaling language. For
instance, an object's content can be encoded as an element. If the object at
one end is either a CORBA or a DCOM objects equipped with a stub to decode
the marshaled XML format back to the object's value, the CORBA/DCOM object
can process it and return an an XML formatted document. So far,
so good, you probably made the inference that the client is also a
CORBA/DCOM object. It could be the case, but it could as well be a browser
that crated an XML document to be sent to the remote object. Moreover, the
middleware may as well always include a <xml-stylesheet> processing
instruction. A client object may do nothing with it but a browser would.

The important thing to see here, is that if we use a common format for
either document or data, then data could be seen as a document. For
instance, the marshaled content usually opaque can be seen as a document and
displayed in a browser. Or a document could be transformed and fed to a
CORBA/DCOM object. The end result versatility and a huge paradigm shift to
do ;-)

Didier PH Martin
Email: martind at
Conferences: Web New York (
Book to come soon: XML Pro published by Wrox Press

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