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Holub on XML

XML is perhaps the worst programming language ever conceived.

As usual, Holub is right on the spot. He talks about the perversities XML is used for, in the name of “simplicity” or other lunacies. In this blog I have occationally noted the lack of understanding of what XML really is, and Allens article is on the same lines.

Read on for a link to the article and some more commentary.

XML is perhaps the worst programming language ever conceived. I’m not talking about XML as a data-description language, which was its original design. I’m talking about perverting XML for programming applications. It’s inappropriate to use XML as a scripting language (e.g., ANT), a test-description language (e.g., TestNG), an object-relational mapping language (e.g., Hibernate, JDO), a control-flow language (e.g., JSF), and so forth. These sorts of XML “programs” are unreadable, unmaintainable, an order of magnitude larger than necessary, and audaciously inefficient at runtime. So, why would anybody use XML in this bizarre way? As far as I can tell, it’s because many so-called programmers just don’t know how to build a compiler. I really don’t have much patience for this sort of thing. To my mind, there is a minimum set of topics with which you have to be conversant to call yourself a professional programmer. If you don’t know these things, you’re a dilettante.

From Just say no to XML by Allen Holub, one of my heroes.

What can I say? As usual, Holub is right on the spot. There are not many programmers I have met that actually know the bare necessities software development.

Holub is usually not very well recieved (just check out the discussions about two of Holubs previous articles: Getters and Setters are Evil and Extends is Evil, both from CocoaDev), but that is only a sign of how the state of things are in the software development community, developers simply don’t understand.

This applies especially to ActionScript programmers. The state of things in the Flash programming community is just appalling, but that is perhaps more because most programmers are not programmers at all, but animators-turned-scripters.

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