XML and configuration files [ was Re: Howto upgrade RPM ]
mogmios at mlug.missouri.edu
Fri Oct 26 17:55:48 PDT 2001
> Great rhetoric Stu, but XML is a lot more than just the latest $BUZZWORD.
> Indeed as a $BUZZWORD it is getting a little long in the tooth. XML has
> a likely lifetime that could well exceed that of Unix.
I don't see XML out living Unix but I see it merging into it as it is very
streams based and great for piping and open systems. TCP/IP once probably
seemed pretty strange to Unix folks but they merged and became the best
network server we have yet experienced.
> But to repeat myself ..
> Here are several possibilities among the many:
> 1) Rewrite apps to use a general purpose XMLconfig system.
> This would be a general utility availble to all apps
> (like disk drivers are available to file systems) with
> a simple API to handle general purpose configuration
> files that were written in XML.
This is a good long-term goal in-part. For most apps the switch to XML
wouldn't be very hard. You just need to slowly migrate users over to it
and let tools be adapted to handle the change. Some programs that use a
scripting language for config would be harder. While you can represent
programs as XML it isn't always as easy as a real script to read. Mainly
because everything is actually stated in the XML where a lot is hidden in
syntax in scripts.
> 2) Build a translator from the XML into the existing format.
> This helps the "building a universal configuration tool"
> problem but leaves the underlying Unix config chaos untouched.
> Ugly but it is probably all one can expect of the existing
Probably the best short-term solution as it gives programmers the benefits
of 1, gives people a chance to adjust, and even gives service aauthors a
chance to rewrite their apps to use the translation layer also making
migration easier for them.
> 3) Given 2)'s general ugliness do nothing. The most likely outcome.
> What we have /works/. The OK is enemy of the better. Conservatives
> usually win. Especially in things like this. So it goes.
I /need/ some way of interfacing with this stuff. If nobody else writes it
I'll have to do it. At least I have the needed background so that it won't
be that hard. Just boring. ;>
> Your conservatism is fine and works for you but it won't take
> us forward. And frankly I would rather go forward and either fail
> or succeed then just hang around and push the status quo.
> So at the heart of this is a lot more than XML vs "psuedo diversity
> masking as a tradition". Our fundamental attitudes are different.
> You see the glass as half full. I see as way more than half empty.
> I don't think any of these OSs are much good. Unix is the best of
> a bad lot.
> But that is probably just me. I am sure most of the crew is as happy
> as clams and don't see what the fuss is all about.
Nothings perfect but you can always make it better or make it worse. If
you don't like the way things are then change them. *shrugs*
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