XML vs the "GeoWeb"

James Clark, Technical Lead of the XML working group and author of expat recently wrote an interesting post about XML, JSON, and web development titled "XML vs the Web":

So what's the way forward? I think the Web community has spoken, and it's clear that what it wants is HTML5, JavaScript and JSON. XML isn't going away but I see it being less and less a Web technology; it won't be something that you send over the wire on the public Web, but just one of many technologies that are used on the server to manage and generate what you do send over the wire.

This isn't JSON triumphalism; Clark has well expressed mixed feelings about the turn.

If our pre-WhereCamp5280 meetup is indicative of how cutting edge developers are evaluating and selecting technology, JSON is definitely the future of sending features to geospatial apps running in the desktop, laptop, or mobile browser. But there's more to the web than browsers. I get a little concerned sometimes that going all in for JSON and HTML5 tech like WebSockets takes us even further off the web as integration platform than we were with GML and W*S.


Re: XML vs the

Author: Nelson Minar

I think the key issue here is mixed content. If you just want to pass some data around, lists of numbers and the like, JSON is obviously a better choice. I think most geo applications are more like data than documents. Certainly XML offers nothing to help work with raster and vector data. Put another way: the GeoWeb is about Javascript and HTTP, but very little about XML or HTML.

Re: XML vs the

Author: Peter Rushforth

JSON is a great data transmission format, but is it hypertext? At its core, the (geo)web is about hypertext. I'm not sure that mixed content is a big issue: HTML does a fine job at that. In a geoweb context, HTML does not (yet) measure up, and I haven't seen other formats stepping up to that challenge either, with the possible exception of Geo Atom. The only problem with Geo Atom is that the geo part is badly fragmented with defacto, dejure and ad hoc encodings -sigh-.

In the end a lot of information exchange today has to be optimized for small devices and narrow bandwidth (maybe that will always be the case). Maybe XML isn't the best tech for that.

Yet, just as DC didn't transmit well, it is still important inside devices.