XML size (was: no subject)

Paul Lussier plussier@mindspring.com
Wed, 03 Apr 2002 16:58:59 -0500

In a message dated: 03 Apr 2002 13:00:41 PST
Chris Lyttle said:

>Actually this whole thread started off with a USER request to revert to
>a BINARY format as it was faster, smaller and easier for him. So going
>along the lines of your arguments it sort of defeats your point as its
>pretty obvious to me that the programmers on gnucash DO listen to what
>their users ask for.

I never stated that the GnuCash developers don't listen to what their 
users ask for.  I've been following the development of GnuCash and a 
member of this mailing list for over 5 years, so I have plenty of 
personal experience to know that's far from the truth.

Additionally, while what you state about the origin of the thread is true,
I find that almost totally irrelevent to the rest of the conversation 
which has since taken place.

Moreover, the poster himself stated he didn't care about the size of the file,
and could give no quantifiable statistics regarding negative performance
impact due to the use of an ascii  based file format.  What he actually said was:

	And try to find a reason for the (at least) 10 times
	larger file on disk which takes now my same data ?!?!?
	(I'm not stressed out by lack of disk space ;-), it's
	just the principle that matters here to me).

	I can't put the finger somewhere in peticular, but I
	almost am sure now the program works slower than 1.4.x
	series, and that is because this stupid XML...

His assertion is not that ascii based file formats are bad, but that 
XML is bad.  I won't argue with this a bit, since I've often thought 
that XML was more hype than anything else.  And he's not overly
concerned about the size of the file, but more the principle that
the switch in format lead to an increase in size.

In fact, based on his actual words in the post, my understanding is 
that he'd be fine with everything as long as someone could provide 
him with a sound and rational reason for why these design decisions 
were made.

He was also not asking to go *back* to a binary format as you 
suggest, but rather asking:
	can anyone give a reasonable and TRUE motive for the
	ugly and almost idiot turn over in the database format
	which GnuCash now uses ? I mean I really don't see ANY
	reason at all for this absolutelly idiotic XML format !!!!!
	Can anyone explain me why is this better than the old format ?

Many reasons have been provided why the XML format is better than the 
old binary format.  Some may be right, others wrong.  Personally, I 
don't know if it's better or worse from a performance point of view.

I do know I prefer the text format more because of all the reasons 
I've stated previously.

Also, I'd like to point out, I have not once argued in favor of 
keeping the XML format, rather, my argument is for keeping the file 
format ascii-text based vs. binary.  I don't care if the ascii format 
is XML or colon-delimited, as long as I can edit it with the editor 
of my choice in a non-X environment.

Also, as I also pointed out in my reply to Rob Browning, I'd be 
completely happy with a ascii import/export feature as long as I can 
export the entire data set any time I want, and import it any time I 
want.  The only thing I request in addition to the import/export 
feature, which I have not yet mentioned, is that I should be able to 
do this from the command line *without* requiring either X or the 
GnuCash application actually be running. I.e., I should be able to do 
something like:

	gnucash --export gnucash.xac > gnucash.txt