Twitter Drop XML

Twitter To Deprecate XML On Streaming APIs

Jessica Thornsby
Twitter-To-Deprecate-XML-On-Streaming-APIs

‘Meh’ says XML expert Norman Walsh.

Twitter have announced they will
drop support for XML on all Streaming APIs on
December 6th, 2010. This deprecation will not apply to
the Search and REST APIs, but all clients requesting XML from
stream.twitter.com will be affected. Twitter are currently
encouraging users connected to an XML-based Twitter Streaming API
to migrate the code to consume JSON by the December 6th
deadline. But, what does the community think about this? “Meh,” writes Norman Walsh. To him, whether you use
JSON or XML all depends on the task at hand.

 

“If all you want to pass around are atomic values or lists or
hashes of atomic values, JSON has many of the advantages of XML:
it’s straightforwardly usable over the Internet, supports a wide
variety of applications, it’s easy to write programs to process
JSON, it has few optional features, it’s human-legible and
reasonably clear, its design is formal and concise, JSON documents
are easy to create, and it uses Unicode.” He also sees JSON as
having the advantage when it comes to writing JavaScript in a web
browser, as the mapping from JavaScript objects to JSON prevents
the serialisation issues that can arise when using XML. However,
XML was designed for use when transmitting structured bundles of
atomic values, and dealing with unstructured data. Norman Walsh
stresses that, once you take out the context, it is impossible to
say JSON is intrinsically simpler than XML: “For bundles of atomic
values, it’s a little simpler. And the JavaScript APIs are
definitely simpler. But I’ve seen attempts to represent mixed
content in JSON and simple they aren’t.” He advises using both JSON
and XML, depending on which fits the particular situation the
best.

Despite the level-headed tone of his blog, he can’t resist
questioning JSON’s limitations: “I look forward to seeing what the
JSON folks do when they are asked to develop richer APIs. When they
want to exchange less well structured data, will they shoehorn it
into JSON? I see occasional mentions of a schema language for JSON,
will other languages follow?”

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