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Re: What about use xml for descriptions of packages?

On Sun, May 25, 2008 at 08:46:22AM -0400, Roberto C. Sánchez wrote:
> On Sun, May 25, 2008 at 02:40:07PM +0200, Fernando Cerezal wrote:
> > I'm thinking about advantages and disadvantages of write the
> > description of the packages using XML.
> Personally, I would hate this.  I've written too many ant build.xml
> scripts to think that writing XML by hand is even a remotely sane thing
> to do.

Same here.

  A lot of people when faced with a problem think "I know, I'll use XML!"

  Now they have two problems.

Seriously though, XML is often used for no apparent reason other than it being
"trendy" or "cool" or whatnot. I think this is one of those times.

Some initial problems I can think of:

  * You can't "just" use XML, you have to use a dialect. Dialects require
    schemas and schemas are Hard.

  * XML is hard to edit and prone to errors when done by hand.

  * XML would be very hard to format by hand when embedded within RFC 2822, the
    format of the debian/control file.

  * XML is great for complex content that requires many degrees of freedom and
    processing possibilities, non of which really apply to package descriptions.

  * XML even when used is usually better when derived from some other format,
    such as a light text based markup language. Think AsciiDoc, Markdown or REsT.

Some initial questions I can think of:

  * What would XML buy us that plain text doesn't?

  * Do those benefits outweigh all the negative issues.

  * Could something more light weight be chosen instead?


Noah Slater - Bytesexual <http://bytesexual.org/>

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