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Re: [Gnu-arch-users] Re: documentation as info

From: Andrew Suffield
Subject: Re: [Gnu-arch-users] Re: documentation as info
Date: Wed, 17 Sep 2003 01:24:44 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.4i

On Tue, Sep 16, 2003 at 02:49:50PM -0700, Tupshin Harper wrote:
> >If you want to make parsing efficient, why in hades are you using XML?
> >Use some sort of compiler instead.
> > 
> >
> Sigh...did this have to turn into a XML vs. everything else argument? 

You're the one that tried to deliver the "use XML for [everything]" line.

> Again, it's all relative. If performance is of paramount importance, 
> then you will use a custom format designed for your particular data 
> requirements. However, if performance is one of many competing 
> requirements (competing with ease of data portability, speed of 
> development, etc), then XML has some advantages.

And some huge disadvantages, like it being crap at all those
things. The fact that for each of them, there exists something else
which is worse, does not excuse XML's failings.

> It is a fact that XML 
> was developed to be simpler, easier, and faster to work with than SGML. 

A goal at which it was a spectacular failure. It remains _almost_ as
hard to parse as SGML, and significantly harder than pretty much
anything else.

> That is all that I was comparing it to.

And I was pointing out that your comparison is bullshit, because it's
the wrong solution to the wrong problem.

Either the format is intended for use by humans, in which case you
optimise for that, or it's intended for programs. When you try and do
both you get something which sucks at both. *Why* are you trying to do

For that matter, the efficiency of parsing source code for
documentation is a really freaking stupid reason for picking a format
to write documentation in. Why on earth do you care about that? If you
need to parse it quickly, compile it to some other format. It's the
same logic that leads us to write programs in languages other than
machine code.

My original point stands. SGML has features which mitigate or
eliminate the stated problems. Your interjection that XML is
slightly[0] faster to parse is at best irrelevant.

[0] On a large docbook document, I can't measure a statistically
    significant difference.

  .''`.  ** Debian GNU/Linux ** | Andrew Suffield
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