“Binary XML” sounds like an oxymoron. It is, after all, the plain text encoding of XML that makes it so easy to work with. Heck, I still use the “vi” editor to make quick changes to XML and HTML files.
Writing in the Australian edition of Builder.com, Martin LaMonica provides a nice roundup of the pros and cons of some efforts to develop a binary XML. He summarizes some related projects at Sun and the W3C, and has some very lively quotes from XML guru (and Gilbane Report Editor Emeritus) Tim Bray. (And if you want to hear directly from Tim on the issue of binary XML, his blog has plenty of related entries.)
I’ll leave it up to people much smarter than me to figure this one out, but the discussion of binary XML is related to the larger question of performance. As XML is more and more pervasive, organizations will need to find ways to deal with performance impacts over time. We talked about XML hardware in this context a few days ago, and ZDNet is reporting today that Cisco may be getting in the XML hardware game. Stay tuned.

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