XML size

Dale Alspach alspach@math.okstate.edu
Tue, 02 Apr 2002 13:12:05 -0600

As an end user I would like to make a few comments/suggestions.
The file size is an issue for backup and transfer reasons.
Something should be done to control the profileration of .xac and .log
files for the users. If the XML format is kept, I suggest adding a backup
button which saves a compressed (gzip, zip or some other widely distributed
type)  to a name given by the user. A companion restore from backup button
would be necessary as well. Add a vi type autosave to some format and let
the user set the time between autosaves. Clean up autosaved files
automatically rather than forcing the user to acquire/write a script to
delete old ones. If it was thought neccessary these could be handled like
/var/log files keeping one per session/day/week (user choice?) up to five.

On the XML vs binary vs database file. I don't like the binary only option.
I do like to be able to get at the data myself using other software
when necessary. Thus if a binary format were adopted, there still needs to
be a way to export the data to tables (ascii) or an  XML file. My
preference would be tables (CSV?) and this would seem to be the most natural
format since a ledger is a table. There are design issues because of the
relational structure and some of the attributes that go with the data as to
how this export should be done.

In my limited experience with XML I have noticed that it is really not
a human readable/writeable format once the number of different tags and
the depth of the tree structure gets developed. Currently I would find
it much harder to deal with an XML file than tables. With the current
version of gnucash my usual procedure for getting at the data is to get
it out as html and then strip/replace the tags. I think XML tools  are
still developer tools and not really for end users. On the other hand
text ables can often  be
imported into other software or massaged with standard utilities such
as awk and grep.

In principle having an actual database as the storage gives one the
ability to extract the data in a variety forms by using the facilities
provided with the database. I am not familiar enough with postgres to
comment on it.

Dale Alspach