Welcome!

Industrial IoT Authors: Elizabeth White, Stackify Blog, Yeshim Deniz, SmartBear Blog, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: Industrial IoT, Machine Learning , Agile Computing

Industrial IoT: Article

Does XML Have a Future on the Web?

A more interesting question is 'Is XML on the web trending up or trending down?'

Douglas Crockford's Blog

I was invited to speak at XML 2007 last month. I was given the topic "Does XML have a future on the web?" My answer was "yes." As evidence, I offered that there are still people selling Cobol compilers. Once this stuff gets into the enterprise, it can take generations to get rid of it.

A more interesting question is "Is XML on the web trending up or trending down?" Clearly, it is trending down. For data transfer applications, XML is losing ground to JSON because JSON is simply a better data transfer format. And XHTML has failed to displace HTML in the marketplace. The benefit of clientside validation has proven to not be a benefit.

I think you can argue, and in fact I did argue, that because of W3C's adventures with XML, the web itself may not have a future. The browser has a lot of problems, the worst of which are the security problems that came with Netscape Navigator 2. That was 12 years ago, and there has been no progress since that time in fixing the fundamental problems. There have been lots of patches on top of patches. Nothing more.

The web has grown up from a document delivery system to an application delivery system. But the browser has not kept pace, so there are now new proprietary platforms from Adobe and Microsoft and others that are hoping to replace the web.

Michael Sperberg-McQueen was there, and has described my argument as a truly mystifying rhetorical move. Michael and I were on the same panel, at which he wished he had said

It gives me some regret now that I did not interrupt at this moment to point out that XHTML and XForms are precisely an effort (all in all, a pretty good one) to improve the foundations of the Web, but I wasn't quick enough to think of that then.

XHTML is not the solution to a problem that concerns anybody except the guys who have to write parsers that convert markup into DOM trees. It turns out that XHTML put the validation on the wrong end of the network. It turned out that the market didn't put much value in a document delivery system that could decide to not display the document because there was an unrecognized attribute on an invisible meta tag. This same sort of wrong-end-of-the-network thinking can be seen today in the HTML 5 working group's crazy XHR access control language.

Continued...

More Stories By Douglas Crockford

Douglas Crockford, an architect at Yahoo!, is an AJAXWorld regular. A technologist of parts, he has developed office automation systems, done research in games and music at Atari, and been both Director of Technology at Lucasfilm and Director of New Media at Paramount. He was the founder and CEO of Electric Communities/Communities.com and the founder and CTO of State Software, where he discovered JSON. He is interested in Blissymbolics, a graphical, symbolic language, and is developing a secure programming language.

Comments (2) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
Kurt Cagle 01/10/08 04:39:59 AM EST

Douglas,

I noticed the other day that Ruby had crested about August 2006 in terms of the number of citations it was receiving in the press, and has been declining at a rate of roughly 2-3% per month ever since. Given that Ruby is perhaps one of the largest single producer/consumer networks of JSON, it may be worth spending some time looking seriously at whether in fact the arguments you are making are not in fact as applicable to that environment.

Most syndication that I see on the web is XML based, though since its usually called RSS2 or Atom people tend to discount how pervasive that is; the entire SOA stack is XML based, and I'd estimate that something like 65%-80% of all web development currently involves XML at some point in the production pipeline, if not necessarily the point connecting the server to the browser. While there is a fairly significant amount of JSON being flung around in the web 2.0 space, I find that neither JSON transformations nor JSON schemas have really managed to gain much traction.

Is JSON better than XForms? That's an apples and oranges argument. I am willing to predict that XForms + XQuery will become a powerful enterprise model for rich form content, because the enterprise is considerably more XML-centric than the consumer stack is. I'm willing to predict that JSON feeds to most mashups will likely end up being a mix of XML (primarily via feeds) and JSON for quite some time, though I'm inclined to suspect that AtomPub will likely tilt the balance of power towards XML in the long run.

One final note - I suspect that if you look at rate of growth, both JSON and XML are on sigmoid curves, with XML perhaps about 75% of the way along its trajectory, while JSON's probably about 50% of the way along its. Both will continue to rise in usage for quite some time, but both will also reach a plateau point, rather than one replacing te other. Big variables yet to be answered is to what degree is JSON catching on in the mobile space (by most accounts, mobile developers prefer declarative markup), to what extent will mashups continue to rise (my sense is that they are in fact stabilizing or even beginning to fall as the market becomes saturated there, while syndication feeds become the dominant services architecture), and whether a lightweight XML format such as e4x or LINQ gets adopted by other platforms (which I suspect will likely be the case with an ES4 adoption, which you're also opposed to).

JSON's not going to go away, nor should it - there are actually quite a few niches where it is in fact preferable to working with XML. However, I also think that its a little early to predicting the demise of XML on the web ... especially since I see some of the most interesting XML technologies really JUST beginning to come online now.

-- Kurt

Anonymous 01/09/08 10:06:03 PM EST

it seems to me that the author doesn't understand the full context in which XML is invented in the first place (the inflection point of enterprise architecture that is data centric instead of object centric)... choosing a format like JSON just seems like a step backwards..

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
The current age of digital transformation means that IT organizations must adapt their toolset to cover all digital experiences, beyond just the end users’. Today’s businesses can no longer focus solely on the digital interactions they manage with employees or customers; they must now contend with non-traditional factors. Whether it's the power of brand to make or break a company, the need to monitor across all locations 24/7, or the ability to proactively resolve issues, companies must adapt to...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that ICC-USA, a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. ICC is a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances to meet a wide range of ...
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place November 12-13 in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd international CloudEXPO | first international DXWorldEXPO and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time t...
Founded in 2000, Chetu Inc. is a global provider of customized software development solutions and IT staff augmentation services for software technology providers. By providing clients with unparalleled niche technology expertise and industry experience, Chetu has become the premiere long-term, back-end software development partner for start-ups, SMBs, and Fortune 500 companies. Chetu is headquartered in Plantation, Florida, with thirteen offices throughout the U.S. and abroad.
DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
CloudEXPO New York 2018, colocated with DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.