Position Paper for "The W3C Workshop on Binary Interchange of XML Information Item Sets", September 24-26th, 2003, Santa Clara, California, USA

Stephen D. Williams Aug. 8th, 2003 sdw@lig.net 703-724-0118

The topic of this workshop appears to be entirely anticipated by my work and recent presentation on what is currently called Efficiency Structured XML, or esXML, and its library esDOM. This position paper will briefly answer the requested items in the meeting announcement and incorporates by reference the full presentation and discussion of esXML at: http://www.esxml.org

Characteristics suggested and comparison to esXML/esDOM:

  1. It would not be restricted to a single schema or vocabulary, and hence could be interoperable between vocabularies;
  2. It would not be restricted to a single application or hardware device, and hence could be interoperable between implementations;
  3. Improved network efficiency and reduced storage needs: compression techniques that make use of domain-specific knowledge often do better than more generic compression;
  4. Sending pre-parsed data could reduce the complexity of applications, and may facilitate creation of simpler internal data structures.
  5. Web Services may need more efficiency, and a pre-parsed binary transmission format may help people to continue to work with Web Services rather than to explore proprietary interfaces.

One question you didn't ask that seems obvious is the handling of binary data. Binary data, such as an image, included in esXML is stored unencoded as binary data. Of course, conversion to XML 1.0 text encoding would require b64 or similar, but in many cases this would allow great efficiency.

It is a design requirement of esXML/esDOM libraries to support both XML 1.0 and esXML via a run-time configuration step so that debugging or other inspection can occur when needed. Of course utilities will be availble for such conversion also. The loss of source viewability is an issue, but it just has to be traded for efficiency. I can't see any details about an image until I view or edit it, and this is a similar tradeoff.

I believe I am proposing a number of new paradigms which appear to be viable and useful. I would very much like to be invited to give a presentation on the first day of this working group.


Thank you for your consideration.

Stephen D. Williams

Senior Technical Director at High Performance Technologies, Inc.