While it’s true that a number of the political factors that influenced the draconian, anti-Postel’s Law design of XML have gone away, I still think that design is virtuous and correct.
Give them an inch, and they’ll take a yard.
I learn by way of Ongoing that some folks in the Atom community want to support not only feed content that’s not well formed (read “broken”) but whole feeds that are not well formed (read, well, since I don’t want to offend you, dear reader, I’ll let you imagine imprecations of your own; preferably the sort that would make an ex-con blush).
A number of rants on this subject drifted through my head as I went through the Monday morning chore of getting the garbage and recycling out to the curb. But in the end, I realized that this is a natural and obvious progression from the position that feed content need not be well formed.
Look, if you’re building a specialty parser to deal with random goop anyway, I can see that there’s little reward in being strict about any part of the format you’re parsing.
While it’s true that a number of the political factors that influenced the draconian, anti-Postel’s Law design of XML have gone away, I still think that design is virtuous and correct. XML succeeded in part because it is an exception to Postel’s Law by axiom. I believe this property remains an important part of its continued success.
For crying out loud! If you don’t want Atom to be XML, make it something else: RFC 822 name/value pairs, comma separated values, free text, whatever. But please, do the world a favor, take out all the angle brackets and things that look like XML. There can be no virtue in a design that intentionally misleads the user.</rant>