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Binary XML -- solution in search of a problem?

In previous posts on this blogsite, we talked about what some industry observers say is a looming XML performance crisis. The main culprit, it seems, is text XML, which carries with it a pile of metadata that could choke systems at the receiving end.
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer on
In previous posts on this blogsite, we talked about what some industry observers say is a looming XML performance crisis. The main culprit, it seems, is text XML, which carries with it a pile of metadata that could choke systems at the receiving end.
ZDNet's Martin LaMonica reports that help is on the way, if you want it, that is. The XML working group of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) recently recommended that the group move away from text-based XML to a binary format. A vote to make this recommendation official could happen late this summer.
Is this a solution in search of a problem? Not everyone is happy with this proposal. One of the advantages of XML and other Web services specifications is the fact that they're human readable.
Plus, such a specification could take up to three years to develop. In that time, there will be far faster systems on the market, better able to process larger XML messages. Hardware always has a way of catching up and compensating for software. (Think Moore's Law of a doubling of processing power every 18 months.)
As LaMonica also points out in the article, a new format for XML messages will require upgrades in XML parsers now on countless servers. So whatever efficiencies binary XML may be creating will be overshadowed by the need for across-the-board system software upgrades. Always a fun weekend project!

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