[DEBATE] choosing XML vs. other text formats

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Phil Peterson

Dec 18, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/18/98
David McCusker wrote:
> Phil wondered when I would start a thread to discuss the choice of XML
> or not, over some other text format (say Mork, or a format of Jamie's).
> This is that thread, and I expect we'll choose a non-XML format. But
> please feel free to press your point of view so we choose correctly.
> David McCusker, speaking only for myself, mozilla mail/news client eng
> Values have meaning only against the context of a set of relationships.

So, here's the reason I asked. A number of people have lately encouraged
us to use XML to represent the summary files. Advantages seem to be that
it's in vogue (which doesn't seem like a good reason) and that we
already have a parser for it (which is a better reason).

One reason we've been resistant to that idea is the verboseness of XML.
I don't really relish the idea of having something like:

<from>Phil Peterson &lt;ph...@netscape.com&gt;</from>
<subject>Hi There</subject>

The grammar David showed earlier is pretty terse, and when combined with
string atomization (which 4.x did as well), files should be pretty
compact. Since we're going to end up reading the entire file into memory
in order to open a mail folder, it seems like there's value in a compact

-- Phil.

Phil Peterson
Netscape mail/news client engineering

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