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On 2009-03-30, Miles Bader <> wrote:
> Tuomo Valkonen <> writes:
>> I've never liked XML for anything, thanks to its its horrible syntax. 
>> It's not good for software processing, which would far more efficiently 
>> handle a binary format, and it's not good for humans, being over-verbose.
> I don't like XML much either, but I think for "save files" (not usually
> read/written by humans), the result move to a humanly readable format
> with a somewhat standardized tree-oriented structure is a _huge_
> improvement over the random crappy binary formats that generally
> preceded it.

Of course, I'm all for standard structural formats. Nothing stops
them from being binary. Indeed, there are some attempts at a binary
XML, but they haven't quite taken off to my knowledge. 

Likewise, nothing stops a standard structural text-based format from 
using a nicer syntax. in this department, YAML has actually gained 
some support, although I find it a bit too strict and complex for 
arbitrary user-editable configuration files: it still remains more 
of a protocol/savefile format -- and, of course, totally unsuitable
for documents. For documents, you want a tagged-format like XML. 
Because the proportion of structure to data is small, there can be
some syntax overhead in marking the structure. Of course, a LaTeX-style
syntax is far less verbose than XML. I just wish there was a standard 
structural LaTeX format, rather than every package parsing the input 
by itself. By contrast, for configuration, a tagged syntax is totally
unsuitable, because most of the information is in the structure, in 
the keywords, and hence specifying it should be as lightweight as possible.

"[Fashion] is usually a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have
 to alter it every six months." -- Oscar Wilde
"The computer industry is the only industry that is more fashion-driven
 than women's fashion." -- RMS