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Re: XML as a standard UNIX config file format (Re: Caldera installation - something Debian should learn)


> The Editor des not know about: Data-Types, Possible Values, Sematics,
> Support like: File/Color/Dont-Browser, does not know about the scope of a
> element (relative or absolte path), does not know the sematics of an
> element. All those problems you have both, with XML and other config files.
> XML is especially dump in this, there is no definition of allowed formats
> (date-field with YY-MM-DD) or allowed field lenghth. A DTD does not help in
> all of those aspects of config files.

You're right... You still have to validate the input in the config file. But
it's much easier to parse because you use a library and not your own

> > Talk with someone who uses sgml-mode in emacs to write docbook or
> > such. I recently begun to do so. It is amazing.
> I love to write Markup Documents, I even use Word to write real markup. But
> this doesnt change the fact, that I dont see any support recent XML Editors
> will give me compared to Control-Centers like GNOME´s or KDE´s. Or even
> Linuxconf or .dot-file generator.

You have to teach Control-Centers every different file formats. With DTDs
they can recognize it by themselves and you just have to install the right
DTD to modify a configuration file.

> I´m talking about parsing password files with thousands of entries. There is
> a good example, try runnng sendmail (as root) on a HP/UP Box with shadowed
> passwords and a few thousand passwd entries.

parsing passwords is not an issue I want to discuss here... But think about
your .procmailrc, apache-config, .newsrc, or all other config-files which
are owned by users or daemons.

> > I am sick of checking if I may use tab or not, what is the syntax for
> > config file xyz etc.
> I dont have problems with that. Well.. on the othe hand, I am used to work
> with it for years.

But even if you are used to work if it for years... what happens if
something changes?? (Okay... it's unlikely in things like sendmail... ;-) )

But again... think about user-space programs like procmail

> Those 2 examples dont show me much benefit...

your 2 examples show much more benefit than you'd think... They show that
it's not that hard to modify config files to get to a standard-markup

The most imortant thing about it is that you just have to maintain one
parser library on each system. Every program which uses XML for it's config
files uses it. That's the _real_ difference which is important.


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