What two XML founders think of Binary XML

Mixed feelings on Binary XML.

In previous posts, I provided some opposing viewpoints on Binary XML, which the W3C proposes as a way to compress verbose text XML messages. Some say that the size of text XML messages may slow down the performance of systems that process Web services messages.

Tim Bray, a co-inventor of XML, was quoted earlier in the year on ZDNet with this thought:  "If I were world dictator, I'd put a kibosh on Binary XML, and I'm quite confident that the people who are pushing for it would find another solution."  Bray also had posted this message on his own site: "Don't call it XML."

I also caught up with another XML co-founder, Dave Hollander (CTO of Contivo), and got his take on the emerging language. His feelings are essentially neutral on the matter. "There’s been a discussion on Binary XML since the day we finished the XML first release -- it seems to come and go," he remarked.

"Some of the Binary XMLs are not truly XML. Those I object to, where they do things to the element names, and they force you to use different syntaxes. But using standard compression to get rid of some of the huge tag names that some of these schema implementers have decided to use – great."

One thing Hollander is not worried about is the potential load XML Web services may impose on systems. In the bigger picture, the impact is minimal -- very minimal compared to other performance inhibitors. "On the Internet, video, MPEG, JPEG, and now VoIP are consuming the bandwidth. The worst XML document with the most elaborate tag names is still only a microsecond of video."

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