Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

[P]
Could an XML standard end office apps' tyranny?

By pauly in News
Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 02:51:05 PM EST
Tags: Round Table (all tags)
Round Table

As a past technical writer, I know the pain of being forced to use MS Office just so my work could be delivered in Word/Excel format. Countless others suffer a similar fate in offices around the world.

No matter how wonderful StarOffice, WordPerfect or FrameMaker are they will never be able to read or write Office binaries absolutely correctly. PDF is great, but it is read-only. This is the key to the stranglehold MS has on this important segment of the computing population.

Members of the vector graphics community have eliminated a similar problem of theirs by creating the XML-based SVG file format. It appears to be quite successful - in fact, my preferred diagram tool uses it. Could something similar be done to replace proprietary, office binary formats?


Sponsors

Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure

Login

Related Links
o XML-based SVG file format
o appears
o preferred diagram tool
o Also by pauly


Display: Sort:
Could an XML standard end office apps' tyranny? | 45 comments (45 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
I would love to see a great deal mo... (none / 0) (#13)
by flamingcow on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 01:13:33 PM EST

flamingcow voted 1 on this story.

I would love to see a great deal more system and user files in XML format so they can be parsed and unstood with standard libraries. It would make life for everyone a great deal easier.

Re: I would love to see a great deal mo... (none / 0) (#14)
by otis wildflower on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 02:58:26 PM EST

I'm wondering if it'd be worth it to build a master set of system config files which is easy to parse but renderable into different OS 'flavors'.. Use it as a distributed config management tool..
[root@usmc.mil /]# chmod a+x /bin/laden
[ Parent ]
Re: I would love to see a great deal mo... (none / 0) (#33)
by Anonymous Hero on Sat Apr 29, 2000 at 03:13:18 AM EST

I hear that MacOS X is standardizing almost all their config files with XML. It makes it extremely easy for their graphical config tools as well as editing them manually.

[ Parent ]
Matter of fact, I believe Microsoft... (none / 0) (#1)
by rusty on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 01:15:44 PM EST

rusty voted 1 on this story.

Matter of fact, I believe Microsoft is actually moving in this direction, as well as supposedly planning to communicate between office apps with an XML-RPC type interface. That would be a Good Thing.

____
Not the real rusty

Re: Matter of fact, I believe Microsoft... (none / 0) (#39)
by nunchy on Sat Apr 29, 2000 at 08:20:59 AM EST

MS being more open? Or more crafty... you decide!

(yes it's my node)

[ Parent ]

Re: Matter of fact, I believe Microsoft... (none / 0) (#40)
by pauly on Sat Apr 29, 2000 at 01:52:42 PM EST

What you're thinking of is this article where some MS "Visionary" describes a future where XML carrying DCOM objects ends once and for all the one-time war between DCOM and CORBA. If you want the best example of the burdgeoning bastardization of XML, this is it. I highly recommend all read this article to have a clearer vision of how Microsoft truly embraces, extends, and ultimately destroys promising technologies they don't have control over. Objects over XML? Really, what a waste for a data format.

[ Parent ]
Re: Matter of fact, I believe Microsoft... (none / 0) (#41)
by Anonymous Hero on Sat Apr 29, 2000 at 02:18:24 PM EST

What your comment fails to take into account is that this is not just an MS issue. IBM and Lotus (not to mention Userland and Developmentor) have signed on the latest spec. See http://www.ibm.com/software/developer/library/soap/soapv11.html for the latest version of the spec (just released SOAP 1.1) and see http://www.alphaworks.ibm.com/tech/soap4j for IBM's implementation.

[ Parent ]
Would be nice, but knowing how Micr... (none / 0) (#11)
by slycer on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 01:33:48 PM EST

slycer voted 1 on this story.

Would be nice, but knowing how Microsoft follows standards.. probably not going to happen. I'd like to see office ported, maybe with the "Split up the company ruling" it may happen :-)

Re: Would be nice, but knowing how Micr... (none / 0) (#27)
by skim123 on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 09:47:45 PM EST

I agree that Microsoft's past performance on standard-following has been anything but stellar, but I think Microsoft is really gun-ho about XML. I wouldn't be surprised to see Micrsoft actually embrace the standard for once.

Of course, I say that knowing Microsoft has already added XML extras that aren't in the standard, but, to my knowledge, they can read standard-compliant XML without any problems (that is, they haven't ignored any of the standards, just added their own, optional enhancements).

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
Well, it could be done, but Microso... (none / 0) (#6)
by alisdair on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 01:34:35 PM EST

alisdair voted 1 on this story.

Well, it could be done, but Microsoft wouldn't want to do it. Probably.

Re: Well, it could be done, but Microso... (none / 0) (#22)
by pauly on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 04:45:28 PM EST

That's why an open-standards group should do it.

[ Parent ]
It's certainly technically possible... (none / 0) (#9)
by sergent on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 01:40:39 PM EST

sergent voted 1 on this story.

It's certainly technically possible but I doubt it's politically possible to get all of those folks to sit down and agree on a standard... and if they did, it probably wouldn't be a very good one. We'll see...

It doesn't really matter if a forma... (none / 0) (#3)
by henrik on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 01:46:07 PM EST

henrik voted 0 on this story.

It doesn't really matter if a format is textual or binary. If you try hard enough, you can still make sure no one else can read it correctly. And it's not exactly in microsofts interest to try to foster a healthy competition.

Akademiska Intresseklubben antecknar!

I thought they were already talking... (none / 0) (#4)
by evro on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 01:53:50 PM EST

evro voted 1 on this story.

I thought they were already talking about doing this...
---
"Asking me who to follow -- don't ask me, I don't know!"

Sort of. But not if Microsoft does... (none / 0) (#2)
by bmetzler on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 01:59:26 PM EST

bmetzler voted 1 on this story.

Sort of. But not if Microsoft doesn't publish the DTD. They could hide the structure of the XML, and you'd be no better then you were before. Or they could publish the spec for their current format and you'd have complete compatibility.

The problem isn't the format, the problem is the specs. Perhaps a better question is, "Does XML make it easier to reverse-engineer the specs?"

-Brent
www.bmetzler.org - it's not just a personal weblog, it's so much more.
File type incompatibility is a horr... (none / 0) (#8)
by dlc on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 02:01:02 PM EST

dlc voted 1 on this story.

File type incompatibility is a horrible thing.

(darren)

Of course this could have been said... (none / 0) (#12)
by merky1 on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 02:01:50 PM EST

merky1 voted 1 on this story.

Of course this could have been said about html, sgml, or even postscript
--=WooooHoooo=--

Re: Of course this could have been said... (none / 0) (#15)
by fluffy grue on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 03:03:29 PM EST

Technically, HTML is a subclass of XML (XML extends HTML), and SGML is a subclass of HTML (HTML extends SGML). Arguing for an extended form of any *ML is the same thing, really. However, Postscript is another matter entirely; arguing for Postscript as a word-processing format is like arguing for .CGM as a word-processing format. Postscript is a low-level graphics description language (it just happens to be Turing-complete), and isn't something which lends itself to being edited, certainly not for large blocks of text anyway.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Re: Of course this could have been said... (none / 0) (#18)
by rusty on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 03:40:19 PM EST

Small correction: HTML is a subclass of SGML, not the other way around. SGML is more general, and encompasses HTML (or rather allows HTML to exist) in it's spec.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Re: Of course this could have been said... (none / 0) (#28)
by skim123 on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 09:53:01 PM EST

From my understanding (recently read Professional XML Design and Implementation by Paul Spencer), XML is a subset of SGML, while HTML is an implementation of SGML. XML and HTML are not directly related.

SGML describes the BNF for tags, HTML takes this BNF and creates a finite number of actual instances of tags (P, BR, LI, etc.). As with SGML, XML is an abstraction, consisting of a way to define tags.

At least that's my understanding from the book I recently read.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
Re: Of course this could have been said... (none / 0) (#31)
by rusty on Sat Apr 29, 2000 at 12:43:23 AM EST

Ok, strictly speaking, HTML is an SGML DTD, while XML is a new SGML-like creature, only less complicated than SGML itself. So HTML is derived from SGML, while XML was created to take the place of SGML with a slightly more limited functionality, but much greater ease of use. I'm not sure whether HTML can be considered a valid XML DTD, but I don't really think so. Were there enough acronyms in that? :-)

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Re: Of course this could have been said... (none / 0) (#32)
by skim123 on Sat Apr 29, 2000 at 01:33:00 AM EST

Were there enough acronyms in that?

Y.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
Re: Of course this could have been said... (none / 0) (#37)
by paranoidfish on Sat Apr 29, 2000 at 05:25:21 AM EST

I'm not sure whether HTML can be considered a valid XML DTD, but I don't really think so.

HTML isn't quite a valid XML DTD. Things like <br> should be either <br/> or <br></br> for it to be XML. Oh, and XML dictates case insensitiveness, which HTML doesn't.

But XHTML (the latest standard from the w3c) is XML compliant. Yay!

(On an offtopic note, can we have some kind of method to post html/xml into comments? Manually typing &gt; gets a bit tiring, and browsers swallow the tags up in textboxes. Perhaps a posting mode so that [ and ] are converted into < and >, seeing as extrans seems to be so confusing on slashdot? Just a thought...)

[ Parent ]

Re: Of course this could have been said... (none / 0) (#19)
by jackyb on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 03:41:52 PM EST

Well, Postscript isn't just a graphics description language - it's a pretty good programming language. Interested in a Postscript web server - look here!

Also, just to nitpick - HTML is an implementation of SGML, and XHTML is an implementation of XML. HTML was originally designed to make it easy for the SGML crowd to use it, and DTDs for HTML as an SGML implementation are available. XML was designed as a simplified markup language to be used instead of SGML. XHTML is what you have to do to HTML to make it an XML application.



[ Parent ]
Re: Of course this could have been said... (none / 0) (#20)
by fluffy grue on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 03:46:33 PM EST

Yes, I was oversimplifying, but I DID mention how it's Turing-complete. I've seen some pretty good raytracers done in Postscript. It's quite fun to mindfuck someone by saying that the printer rendered the image. "Oh, you mean you rendered it and printed it out? So?" "No, the PRINTER rendered it."

And yes, I was being imprecise with the SGML-HTML-XML relationship, and as Rusty pointed out, HTML's a subset of SGML, not the other way around. However, XML is basically a generalization of all possible *MLs using DTDs (I didn't feel it was necessary to go into the mechanics of it, blah :) and so forth. Yea and verily.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Yes, it could, but if Word is alrea... (none / 0) (#10)
by nicktamm on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 02:12:20 PM EST

nicktamm voted 1 on this story.

Yes, it could, but if Word is already the standard by a huge margin, what would MS gain by switching to it? Or even implementing it? What would probably end up happening is that StarOffice, WordPerfect, etc. would all implement it, but how many XML files would Word users get? I mean, how many Word Perfect or StarOffice files are they getting right now? It apparently isn't enough for them to phone MS and demand the StarOffice format be included. All that a standard for everything would do is cause the number of people submitting XML files to be the sum of all the people currently submitting StarOffice, WordPerfect, etc. files. MS has a history of using their own standards.
Another thing to consider is the reason for so many standards. The authors of the programs like to implement features that their competitors don't have, and that sometimes requires a different method of storing the results of the new features. Sort of like what happens when MS implements HTML.
Nick Tamm nick-k5@echorequest.net http://www.nicktamm.org

Re: Yes, it could, but if Word is alrea... (none / 0) (#17)
by ramses0 on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 03:25:45 PM EST

The real trick would be to decide on a "standard word-processing format" outside of microsoft. Figure out the most common features in word processing (bold, italic, headers, footers, footnotes, tables, etc...) and start an open process encouraging everyone to support it.

The way I understand *ML's, is that any unknown, tags, or tags that aren't understood are required to be ignored. This would work just fine for allowing other word processors to invent their own features, like [blink] [/blink], and all the other word processors could ignore it (or maybe signal to the user that "x sections were not understood, formatting may be missing or different").

I think that there already is a fairly common word-processing format, it's called "RTF", standing for Rich Text Format.

I know that XML is supposed to be better than sliced bread and everything, but if there's already an open standard, then that should not be overlooked.

(personally, I like the idea of word processors outputting "plain html", not like MS's "it has html tags in it" HTML. 9 times out of 10, giving a document to me in plain html will allow the -content- to be understood, and that's what's important)

--Robert
[ rate all comments , for great justice | sell.com ]
[ Parent ]

Re: Yes, it could, but if Word is alrea... (none / 0) (#29)
by skim123 on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 10:03:11 PM EST

You make some good points, why should Microsoft do this? I think they will implement an XML file format. Granted, it may not comply to standards, but once they have published theirs, other Word processors can interoperate with it.

I'd wager money that there is a "Save to XML" option in Word 10.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
Re: Yes, it could, but if Word is alrea... (none / 0) (#35)
by your_desired_username on Sat Apr 29, 2000 at 04:12:15 AM EST

I expect Micro$loth and others of their ilk ($un) to spew forth a variety of XML 'standards', for all sorts of purposes.

What makes you think they will publish any of these standards?
I believe that XML 'standards' from M$ will be lessons in how easy/difficult it is to reverse-enginer XML file formats.

Fortunately, XML file formats may often end up bening easier to reverse-engineer than binary formats. But I do not believe there is anything in XML that prevents a hard to reverse-enginer format.

[ Parent ]
Re: Yes, it could, but if Word is alrea... (none / 0) (#36)
by skim123 on Sat Apr 29, 2000 at 04:42:37 AM EST

What makes you think they will publish any of these standards?

I think they will have to to have the total functionality they will want. For example, they will want people using Web browsers to apply a style sheet and view a Word doc over the Net. Granted, they could hide this capability and have it work in IE, but if they wanted it to work in Netscape, they would need to publish the standards.

Furthermore, if they wanted developers to be able to easily tinker with Word documents through other languages/applications (which is a benefit of saving as XML), then, IMO, the standard would be published to remove the requirement of using some Microsoft Word package.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
Boycott. (none / 0) (#34)
by your_desired_username on Sat Apr 29, 2000 at 04:03:23 AM EST

Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.
:-P Spare me.

If you do not like MSWord files, please, for your own sake, and the sake of the rest of us who do not like them, DO NOT USE THEM.
It will be difficult to avoid them, but in the long run, it will be worth the trouble.

As for getting all other word processors to support an open standard, that is good ... but why not pick a pre-existing open standard?

[ Parent ]
Its time for a common format. XML l... (none / 0) (#7)
by inspire on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 02:28:58 PM EST

inspire voted 1 on this story.

Its time for a common format. XML looks like a worthy candidate for the job...
--
What is the helix?

We already have an XML word process... (none / 0) (#5)
by fluffy grue on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 02:51:05 PM EST

fluffy grue voted 1 on this story.

We already have an XML word processing standard. It's called HTML, maybe you've heard of it. :) Seriously though, yes, HTML is sorely lacking in many regards when it comes to real word-processing, TeX is sorely lacking when it comes to layout control (not to mention being workable), and so forth. An XML for publishing purposes would be really nice, yup.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]

Re: We already have an XML word process... (none / 0) (#21)
by jackyb on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 03:48:33 PM EST

Well, I don't really understand this. Firstly, HTML is not a word processing language, as anyone who has tried to legibly present large quantities of text in HTML can verify. In fact, until HTML 4 you couldn't do a tenth of the things you need to do to get a text document looking how you should.

Secondly, TeX is lacking when it comes to layout control?? What planet are you on?? TeX allows me to pinpoint every last piece of formatting on the page and place it exactly where I want it if necessary, while containing all the best typesetting rules to lay out the text in the most legible position if I don't want to override them. TeX is quite simply the best typesetting language there is.

But, TeX is not a word processing format - it's a typesetting format, and those people who aren't interested in typesetting (or specialised applications like mathematics) probably can't be bothered to use it for their everyday stuff. But I do, as it happens - every letter, essay, and piece of technical documentation I do is in TeX, and so I find it eminently workable.

[ Parent ]

Re: We already have an XML word process... (none / 0) (#43)
by fluffy grue on Sat Apr 29, 2000 at 04:28:55 PM EST

I guess I'm too used to the subset of LaTeX which LyX presents to me. However, my understanding of it was that it's very unsuitable for the same sorts of things which, say, QuarkXPress are for, such as doing newspaper layouts or brochures or the like. I guess that I didn't fully appreciate the power of TeX, since I've onlys een it used for papers and books. My bad.

As far as HTML as a word processing language, I didn't say it was complete, just that it IS, in a way, an XML word processing format.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

TeX (none / 0) (#44)
by jackyb on Sun Apr 30, 2000 at 05:35:21 AM EST

LyX is an abomination :) which I have never had the misfortune to use.

For doing long, extended things like newspaper layouts and brochures, one would probably want to use a tool like Quark because that's exactly what Quark is designed for. TeX is for typesetting, which means, essentially, publishing books, journal articles, and the like, and it does a superb job. When I said it was brilliant for layout control, I was mostly referring to the kind of layout control that happens in books, where there is one long flow of text plus (optionally) many short boxes, figures, graphics. For this, TeX is, without doubt, the best tool, what with its bibliography, footnote, endnote, and indexing features; the boxes which are outside the main flow of text can all be placed precisely as you want them, and so on. As soon as you need several strings of text all flowing from one page to another, it becomes harder (though still possible) to make TeX do the job - but again, that doesn't happen very often in a book.



[ Parent ]
Re: TeX (none / 0) (#45)
by fluffy grue on Sun Apr 30, 2000 at 07:40:51 PM EST

Ahh, see, when I was saying TeX was horrible for layout, I meant in terms of desktop publishing, not as in simple rule-based stuff like books, journal articles, and the like. :)

BTW, LyX isn't too bad, except that its interface has Yet Another set of hotkey conventions, which is kind of the worst of Emacs and Windows. I keep on wishing someone would port LyX to GTK (KLyX is one of the many anally-KDE-only apps which refuses to work without KDE, when it really only needs Qt, and can't be installed as anything other than root, which I don't HAVE everywhere) since XForms is such a pile. Most of the problems with LyX are all the horrible XForms-isms, and other than that it makes a very nice frontend to LaTeX.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Re: We already have an XML word process... (none / 0) (#24)
by orabidoo on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 05:01:34 PM EST

There's already an XML for publishing purposes, it's called DocBook. I don't think it's appropriate for ordinary word processors though... these tend to do things at the layout level, not at the document structure level.

[ Parent ]
XML word processor -- Abi Word (none / 0) (#42)
by mattm on Sat Apr 29, 2000 at 03:51:48 PM EST

Indeed, there is a word processor that uses an XML-based format, at least from appearances -- Abi Word. Using it tends to leave a sour taste in my mouth, though -- I'm not sure whether that's because they're planning to expand it into yet another office suite or because the parent company's been playing Conglom-O lately. (Seems like every time a company puts up a page with a vague title like "An Open Letter", it's either to beg for a handout or to announce a merger/acquisition.)

Me, I'd like something somewhere between the graphical "high level" and the TeX "low level" -- a text editor that allows one to use both hand-edited and canned layout as necessary, and which DOESN'T REQUIRE A WINDOW SYSTEM.

Oh well, DOS Word Perfect still works smashingly under dosemu! Gotta love that "Reveal codes" option.



[ Parent ]
AbiWord (3.00 / 1) (#16)
by lachoy on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 03:24:53 PM EST

Just a quick note that the nifty, rapidly developing open-source word processor AbiWord uses an XML format. I believe that Gnumeric does as well (although it's also GZIP'd to save space).

Curious how these two plus the aforementioned Dia are all in the GNOME Office...
M-x auto-bs-mode

Re: Could a XML standard end office apps' tyranny? (5.00 / 1) (#23)
by Alhazred on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 04:57:16 PM EST

Having developed numerous bits of software over the years, and more than a few
web tools of various sorts I can't see any particular reason why virtually ALL
information can't be stored in some form of XML based markup. Markup isn't
necessarily appropriate for every circumstance, but it certainly is appropriate
for most if not all end user data stored in files on disk. 

Not only that but a non-validating XML parser can handle ANY XML data, the DTD
is irrelevant in that case, and that at least gets you a lot of interesting
functionality. It shouldn't really be that hard to reverse engineer a DTD from
a good sampling of files either. A tool could be written to do most of it. At
worst you would end up with a DTD that supports whatever subset of data your
tool has seen so far. 

Anything an application DOESN'T know how to process it can safely ignore and
maintain unchanged. This is the beauty of XML. A DOM or SAX interface based
application will just preserve unintelligible but properly formed XML markup!
So basically if Word has some proprietary properties or tags it implements,
then wordprocessor FOOBAR can just say to itself "huh, thats not something I
know how to deal with, Oh well I'll just leave it there and pretend it doesn't
exist."

That goes a LONG way towards both interoperability AND software developer's
desire to add features nobody else has. At this point I don't even think
Microsoft has the clout with the business community to screw up that vision.
Big business is behind XML because now they are wasting BILLIONS on converting
data back and forth from one proprietary format to another! They know they will
never get the world to standardize on one set of apps or even business
processes, but they CAN get everyone to come close to agreeing on how data
should be structured for a particular knowledge domain, and with XML close is
better than nothing, unlike with largely unstructured binary formats like Word. 

That is not dead which may eternal lie And with strange aeons death itself may die.
Re: Could a XML standard end office apps' tyranny? (none / 0) (#25)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 05:23:01 PM EST

Anything an application DOESN'T know how to process it can safely ignore and maintain unchanged. This is the beauty of XML. A DOM or SAX interface based application will just preserve unintelligible but properly formed XML markup! So basically if Word has some proprietary properties or tags it implements, then wordprocessor FOOBAR can just say to itself "huh, thats not something I know how to deal with, Oh well I'll just leave it there and pretend it doesn't exist."
That's all very well for things like displaying HTML, but it could easily break when you start editing the file. Any 'unknown' tag that depends on properties of other parts of the XML text would break if the other text is edited. -Lars

[ Parent ]
Re: Could a XML standard end office apps' tyranny? (none / 0) (#38)
by nunchy on Sat Apr 29, 2000 at 08:10:09 AM EST

You're right. Although that would depend on the spec (and thus the DTD). An open DTD should be enough reference material not to break stuff though. You're always going to get third party XML editors (and idiot handcoders)... probably best to build your program's XML parser to expect such tripe.

[ Parent ]
Re: Could a XML standard end office apps' tyranny? (none / 0) (#26)
by tjansen on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 06:54:56 PM EST

Only using XML for the document is not very helpful (except for harddisk manufacturers). An undocumented XML format can be almost as hard to parse as a binary format of similar complexity. I really dont care whether the format is binary or text-readable, as long as it is documented.
Talking about SVG, XML is just not the right format for most kinds of data. It is good for text-based information, but not for number-based data or bitmaps (see also this advogato artivle). Of course, there are some standards for binary formats (like HDF and CDF) - the problem is that nobodys uses them, or at least I havent seen a mainstream application that uses one of these formats.

PDF IS NOT READ ONLY (5.00 / 1) (#30)
by Commienst on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 11:42:41 PM EST

Don't be silly rabbit. PDF is not read only. To write you need to pay for Adobe Acrobat Autorware or something like that. They give the Acrobat PDF reader away for free but not a tool to write to PDFs. They got to make money somehow.

Could an XML standard end office apps' tyranny? | 45 comments (45 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
Display: Sort:

kuro5hin.org

[XML]
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!