Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Jim Gray interviews Tim Bray

In ACM Queue Jim Gray interviews Tim Bray. Here is an extract which has been slightly edited (because I hate to type). Jim Gray: It seems that XML and, to some extent, RDF have been fairly successful at electronic data interchange where OSI and ASN.1 failed. Why? Tim Bray: Two huge lessons come out of ASN.1. What it does is tell you all about data types. If you have a stream of ASN.1, it says, "Here's a 35 character string, and here's a 64 bit IEEE double precision float". XML says ""Here's some text called label, here's some text called price". Historically it appears that it's more valuable to to know what something is called than to know what data type it is. That's an interesting lesson.

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