JAX London 2014: A retrospective
XML vs. JSON Debate

XML Moving Away From The Web?

Jessica Thornsby

Bloggers continue to discuss Twitter and Foursquare deprecating XML.

The news that both Twitter and Foursquare are to deprecate XML has put the spotlight back on the old JSON or XML debate – and provoked an unusually level-headed response. “Meh,” said Norman Walsh, as he explained that XML is designed to be used when transmitting structured bundles of atomic values, and dealing with unstructured data, while JSON is better for writing JavaScript in a web browser. Whether JSON or XML is ‘best’ depends on the task at hand. James Clark added that if you’re an experienced XML developer, then you’re unlikely to panic and jump ship to JSON, just because Twitter and Foursquare are deprecating the technology. James Clark also insisted that XML isn’t going away, but he predicts it moving away from the Web technology area, and becoming “one of many technologies that are used on the server to manage and generate what you do send over the wire.”

Now, Jeff Mesnil has posted his thoughts on XML. He agrees that XML will become less common on the web, where he perceives HTML and JSON as having the advantage, and sees XML moving into more enterprise-orientated areas. He also takes this opportunity to complain about XML schema and bindings, which he sees as replacing “some noisy boilerplate code by other noisy boilerplate code.” Although it did enforce some structure, not all constraints can be expressed with schema, which resulted in him having to draft in an additional programmatic phase in Java. He feels that good documentation is enough in most instances and, anyway, “working with JavaScript and JSON on the Web is much more simpler.”

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