It’s not even XML!

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: lawrence@krubner.com

Dave Winer said he is deeply depressed. Sometimes he seems frightened by the march of change. I suppose that is an aspect of depression. His initial fear of JSON seems like an expression of fear:

I’ve been hearing, off in the distance, about something called JSON, that proposes to solve a problem that was neatly solved by XML-RPC in 1998, the encoding of arrays and structs in a format that could easily be processed by all programming languages. The advantage being that you could easily support the protocol in any language that supported XML and HTTP, which, at the time, was quickly becoming all languages.

Then came SOAP, a re-invention of XML-RPC, that I saw as the inevitable fussing that BigTechCo’s feel they have to do to give their software lock-in, make it impossible for another developer to reverse-engineer the profile they used, and make the documentation so broad and incomprehensible that it’s impossible to ever completely implement it. Competition-free open protocols. Microsoft and IBM succeeded at that, with help from Sun, leading to a backlash, some of it well-intentioned, and some of it hypocritically promoted by the very same people who made SOAP so difficult to program! Such chutzpah, but already the users were so confused they thought it was just geeks being difficult.

A picture named yankeeFan.jpgI said it then, you’d still need to come up with an object serialization format for REST apps, otherwise every app has to start from scratch, they could have used the one SOAP used (we defined a profile called the Busy Developer’s Guide to make that possible), or god forbid, use the original one in XML-RPC, but maybe the new devs at various big Silicon Valley companies never heard about these proto-standards, or chose to re-invent anyway. They came up with this thing called JSON, that I kept saying to myself, “You don’t even want to look.”

Today I looked. I read on Niall Kennedy that del.icio.us has come up with an API that returns a JSON structure, and I figured, sheez it can’t be that hard to parse, so let’s see what it looks like, and damn, IT’S NOT EVEN XML!

As Dr Phil asks — What were they thinking?

No doubt I can write a routine to parse this, but look at how deep they went to re-invent, XML itself wasn’t good enough for them, for some reason (I’d love to hear the reason). Who did this travesty? Let’s find a tree and string them up. Now.

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, this is why I’m fed up with Mountain View, Cupertino, Redwood Shores and Redmond. Give me Berkeley and New York any day. Silicon Valley is made up of little boys pulling their puds, constantly making love to each other, pretending the world revolves around them.

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