Re: Universal Astrological Database Format

From: John Roth <>
Date: Thu, 17 Jul 2003 17:23:28 -0400
Message-ID: <>

"Bernard Peek" <> wrote in message news:9PGAKn249cF$
> In message <>, John Roth
> <> writes
> >> What you really need is a standard method of exchanging data and
> >> metadata, that is the logical relationships between the items of data.
> >> It's the metadata that turns a pile of data into usable information.
> >>
> >> The obvious system for doing this is XML. This is what it was designed
> >> for. It records data and metadata and is platform independent. There
> >> programs to handle XLM with PCs, Macs and UNIX systems. Many of those
> >> tools are free.
> >
> >Absolutely agree. (BTW - I'm one of the posters from AAT that's been
> >working this thread. The basic problem we're having is that the
> >person with the most enthusiasm for getting the job done believes
> >that comma separated text files are the way to go.) ):
> I take it this is someone who has never used comma-delimited files
> before. I have, and wouldn't willingly do it again. The problem with
> them is that commas appear in normal text and delimiters shouldn't. At
> least use an unusual character for the delimiter, I usually use the pipe
> (|) character.

Actually, he has. I believe his reasons are that he knows he can get the job that he thinks needs doing done that way. It's a known technology, while other technologies would require a substantial learning curve.' I can't say I disagree, either.

> I've worked on a lot of volunteer projects. It's usually the person who
> does the work that gets to make all of the major decisions. I think XML
> is probably the way I would choose if I were making the decisions, but
> I'm not.

Well, I've been posting my thoughts on the matter in XML a few times, and so far the only significant responses have been from the person with a commercial product that uses XML. (Pretty good product, too.) Every time I go around on it, I find a bit more clarification.

> There are some pragmatic reasons for choosing comma (or pipe) delimited
> files. Firstly there's the rule of thumb that the best technology to use
> in a new project is usually the one that you already understand. If the
> programmer has a lot of experience with delimited files they can
> probably make them work. If this person has never worked with XML it may
> require them to invest a substantial amount of time and effort in
> learning it.


> The second reason, which follows from that, is that XML does restrict
> the available pool of developers. It's a technically superior solution,
> but the problems in implementing it may be managerial rather than
> technical. You may not be able to find the resources you need, and you
> probably can't throw money at the problem. (If you decide that you can
> throw money at the problem then I'm available. If anyone else has
> problems they want to throw money at then I'm available immediately.)

Astrologers? Money? I don't think these two words belong in the same sentence.

John Roth

> To persuade my industry to switch from delimited files to XML I had to
> convene committees and subcommittees and hold lots of meetings. It was a
> technically superior solution and all of the people who knew about XML
> agreed it was. That didn't make it any easier to get it adopted.
> --
> Bernard Peek
> London, UK. DBA, Manager, Trainer & Author. Will work for money.
Received on Thu Jul 17 2003 - 23:23:28 CEST

Original text of this message