The XML Litmus Test - RSS
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Copyright 2003-4 Randy Charles Morin
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Mon, 11 Oct 2004 13:13:05 GMT
The XML Litmus Test

Dare Obasanjo: XML is the appropriate tool for the job if the following criteria are satisfied by choosing XML as the data representation format for a given application.

  1. there is a need to interoperate across multiple software platforms>
  2. one or more of the off-the-shelf tools for dealing with XML can be leveraged when producing or consuming the data >
  3. parsing performance is not critical>
  4. the content is not primarily binary content such as a music or image file >
  5. the content does not contain >control characters or any other characters that are illegal in XML>

If the expected usage scenario does not satisfy most or all of the above criteria then it doesn't make much sense to use XML as the data representation format for the situation in question.

Randy: This seems like an over simplification. For instance, in today's world, #1 and #2 are easily satisfied on most projects. That means you only need one of the last three criteria, to satisfy most (meaning more than 50%) of the criteria. Mind you, criteria #5 is nearly impossible to satisfy, as tab, linefeed and carriage return are control characters.

Update: I'm even gonna say that satisfying #1, #2 and #4 is trivial on most projects. I mean, how often is binary content the primary content? This means most projects would pass Dare's criteria.

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