XML: No Magic Problem Solver
Three sad truths
Sad XML Truth No. 1: Designing a good format using
XML still requires human intelligence.
Sad XML Truth No. 2: XML does not mean less
Sad XML Truth No. 3: Interoperability isn’t an
engineering issue, it’s a business issue.
The Magic Problem Solver du jour is XML, or Extensible
Markup Language, a system for describing arbitrary
data. Among people who know nothing about software
engineering, XML is the most popular technology since
Java. This is a shame since, although it really is
wonderful, it won’t solve half the problems people think
it will. Worse, if it continues to be presented as a Magic
Problem Solver, it may not be able to live up to its actual
(and considerably more modest) promise.
XML is being presented as the ideal solution for the
problem of the age: interoperability. By asserting that
their product or service uses XML, vendors everywhere
are inviting clients to ignore the problems that arise
from incompatible standards, devices, and formats, as
if XML alone could act as a universal translator and
future-proofer in the post-Babel world we inhabit.