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

David Brownell david-b at
Thu Jan 20 01:59:40 GMT 2000

"Hunter, David" wrote:
> From: Miles Sabin [mailto:msabin at]
> Sent: Tuesday, January 18, 2000 10:57 AM
> >
> > 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?
> The two thoughts off the top of my head:
> 1)  It's easier to debug.  If things are going wrong, it's pretty cool to be
> able to just pull the data up in Notepad, and see if there's anything screwy
> going on.  Admittedly not a powerful reason at all.  :-)

Go back to the drawing board on that one ... higher developer
productivity is a big deal!! ;-)

> 2)  The ability to swap in and out different clients, and leave the server
> alone.  If I want to use a Visual Basic client on my company's Windows
> boxen, and C++ clients on my Mac boxen, and maybe Java on my UNIX boxen,
> they can all still just communicate with the server via my XML document
> type.  I don't have to make everyone use Java, or lock myself into a
> specific CORBA vendor, or use DCOM and make ALL my clients Windows boxen,
> etc.

If your CORBA vendor gives you lock-in, yell at them till they fix
it ... that's a severe bug.  XML + HTTP doesn't change that interop

However, I think it's true that since XML is text, most any programming
tool nowadays can work with it at least a little bit, and that's not
true of any normal RPC.  One doesn't do bit-twiddling in VB, it's nasty
for most protocols ... one needs expensive (and usually proprietary)
tools to create DLLs to do the bit-twiddly stuff for you.

The cross-platform interop story is one reason I never could support
the RMI story ... there was none, and interoperability between systems
is the driving force behind every networked application.

- Dave

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