XML size (was: no subject)

Linas Vepstas linas@linas.org
Tue, 2 Apr 2002 10:17:07 -0600

On Tue, Apr 02, 2002 at 11:50:36AM +0200, Christian Stimming was heard to remark:
> Cornel DIACONU wrote:
> >This is my question: can anyone give a reasonable and
> >TRUE motive for the *** turn over in
> >the database format which GnuCash now uses ? I mean I
> >really don't see ANY reason at all for this
> >*** XML format !!!!! Can anyone
> >explain me why is this better than the old format ?
> See 
> http://lists.gnucash.org/pipermail/gnucash-devel/2000-December/001696.html 
>  and the whole discussion thread there. Quote:
> The binary format was really a dead-end. It was very brittle, with
> subtle endian and architecture issues, and continuing to extend it
> was going to be an extreme headache.
> (end quote)

Except that this statement is completely incorrect.  It wasn't brittle,
it had no endian or architecture issues, it was easy to extend (a *lot*
easier than the current xml format) and it didn't need to be a dead

The *only reason*  the xml file format was created was so that we could 
have an HTTP server for gnucash.  Unfortunately, this goal was lost, 
and the current XML format is *not* suitable as a client-server

The binary file format is easier to maintain than the xml, and its *a
lot* faster, and tinier to boot.   This is not new news; this has been
true since the dawn of XML, and some XML projects have moved away
from an ascii format to a binary format for speed and compactness 
(e.g. vrml)

The binary format was dropped because once we had a working xml,
everyone was too lazy to maintain two different formats.

I, for one, would support work to put a good binary file format back
into gnucash.


pub  1024D/01045933 2001-02-01 Linas Vepstas (Labas!) <linas@linas.org>
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