[FoRK] binary XML

Stephen D. Williams sdw at lig.net
Wed Jan 19 17:46:42 PST 2005

I should have referred to data model compatibility rather than semantics 
as semantics can mean much more.  XML doesn't really have a single data 
model per se (this has been much discussed), but it does tend to suggest 
certain types of data models.  A binary format that can directly do 
everything that XML 1.1 does is more useful in applications already 
built for XML than if it was more like an INI file or CSV or some other 


Gavin Thomas Nicol wrote:

> On Jan 19, 2005, at 2:09 PM, Stephen D. Williams wrote:
>> This line of argument is exactly why some of us want a "binary XML" 
>> rather than "binary data standard" or something.  The point is that 
>> it is semantically equivalent to XML 1.x and can be transcoded 
>> through XML 1.x.  I would expect any library that can do binary XML 
>> to do 1.x equivalently, preferrably switchable at runtime in a 
>> standard way.  This supports debugging (once debugging of the library 
>> is done), transparency, etc.  Also, you can grab any binary XML 
>> object and 'uncompress' it to XML 1.x at any time.
>> That's the kind of leverage that makes binary XML interesting.
> That's somewhat specious logic though.
> Really, binary XML and XML 1.1 equivalency is nothing more than a pair 
> of transformation functions that take an arbitrary binary format and 
> produce an XML 1.1 document or vice versa. Those functions could be 
> defined in terms of "binary XML" or any number of data formats.
> The notion that XML 1.1 has some intrinsic semantics is also really a 
> red herring. My XML document has no semantics until it has been 
> interpreted by my application... which is one reason that schemas tend 
> to be application specific (in the old sense of application).
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Stephen D. Williams 703-724-0118W 703-995-0407Fax 20147-4622 AIM: sdw

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