XML alternatives [was Re: [Beowulf] What services do you run on your cluster nodes?]

Ashley Pittman apittman at concurrent-thinking.com
Fri Sep 26 03:26:03 PDT 2008

On Thu, 2008-09-25 at 19:11 -0400, Joe Landman wrote:
> YAML is nice until you accidentally change indentation.  Then the game 
> is over.  Having bolluxed up many fortran codes in my (distant past), I 
> have to say "just say no" to things *requiring* indentation.  In YAML's 
> case, it suffers from the same problem with Python (yeah, I am gonna get 
> some nasty dirty emails now).  Structure by indentation is IMO *evil*. 
> I have heard that GvR actually agrees with this, though that is 3rd 
> order hearsay.

I've actually come to like yaml for simple things, it's great for config
files and other simple things like that.  Like you I'm amazed that
Python made the same mistakes that Make did all those years ago, I
thought people had realised that making whitespace significant was wrong
long before I started in this industry!  Yaml however seems to work
quite well, at least for simple things.

> I guess, as a person who uses Perl quite a bit, I have to smile when I 
> hear about some folks in some other language somewhere forming a team to 
> write a parser or validator for some XML they are banging their heads 
> on.  I am spoiled by Perl's (extraordinarily) powerful tools for stuff 
> like this.

Really?  I've been playing with some XML code for about two years now
and never got it right, I've got some extensive XML I want to load into
Perl and do things with, XML::Simple does exactly what I want and
allowed me to write the tool I needed in a couple of days.
Unfortunately it takes three or four minutes to load each file (there is
one per rank) which means my tool is effectively un-usable at scale,
I've been fiddling with XML::Parser which seems to do what I want in two
or three seconds but is horribly complex and is incredibly difficult to
get 100%.  Perhaps we could talk off-list and you can tell me what I've
been doing wrong?


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