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From Aaron Mulder <>
Subject Re: Serialization Vs. XML
Date Fri, 20 May 2005 01:06:55 GMT
	And I'd like to contribute that I don't really care what the
format is so long as an end user can easily change configuration settings
-- long after the installation, and without the product running.

	To me, a text-based format is an obvious candidate for this.  
However Serialization would also be fine if there is some kind of editor
tool that meets the criteria above.  Unfortunately, no one has indicated
that they plan to develop such a tool, and it seems like a tool that lets
you edit arbitrary serialized objects is likely to present an unfriendly
user interface (though with enough attention to the objects and bean infos
this would be manageable).  That being the case, I'd lean toward an XML
format for saved configuration information to solve the configuration

	Hiram seemed to have a different perspective, which (if I am
paraphrasing correctly) is that native ActiveMQ objects can be described
using XML without requiring ActiveMQ/Geronimo glue code, while with the
current Serialization-based approach there would need to be an extensive
set of wrapper objects and stuff.  As a result I think I heard that
ActiveMQ configures itself with big blocks of XML anyway instead of taking
full advantage of Serialized objects.  While one might consider the XML to
be "glue", at least it's configuration not code.

	If I can direct a question to the Serialization supporters, I'm
not clear on why Serialization is advantageous.  It might be faster to
load than XML, but given that the quantity of XML would be fairly small
(currently all plans total about 2000 lines including comments and
whitespace), it doesn't seem like performance would be an significant
advantage.  I gather there's some objection to XMLBeans/Castor/etc. as a
core Geronimo dependency, which is reasonable (given that they're usually
large) -- but it seems like in general the XML would be "generic" enough
to be pretty tight and high-level, and therefore DOM/SAX might work fine.  
That's only speculation, of course, so I may be off base.  I also assume
Spring has configuration parsing code already (per Dain's kernel
alternative, though that's still separate from config parsing as far as I
know).  Anyway, what other benefits does Serialization offer?

	Finally, I'm sorry if we've been through some of these issues
before.  I'll be happy to take a stab at writing up whatever we eventually
conclude for the Wiki, so as not to have this discussion again next time
my memory gives out on me.  I'll be really embarrassed if I wrote it up
last time too.  :)


On Thu, 19 May 2005, David Jencks wrote:
> My first reaction is that you have seriously misrepresented everyones 
> positions.  However, I don't have time right now to go into much 
> detail, as I am still attempting to work on certification.
> I have attempted to be clear all along that I fully support keeping 
> serialization and think that the arguments against it are way 
> overblown.  As such, depicting Jeremy as the sole holdout against the 
> tide of xml-goodness is ludicrous.
> Also, my impression was that we had all agreed at the start that we 
> would do our best to keep xml processing out of the runtime.  I guess I 
> should have had everyone sign up on this since it looks like fewer 
> people remember this every day.
> I don't know many details about object serialization.  I would like to 
> see a concrete demonstration of problems with serializing a reasonable 
> attribute value, such as a javabean or strategy object.
> thanks
> david jencks
> On May 19, 2005, at 4:42 PM, Dain Sundstrom wrote:
> > The serialization Vs. XML discussion has been going for almost a week 
> > now and it doesn't look like we are getting sidetracked into subtle 
> > (yet important) points, so I'd like to take the oportunity to bring 
> > this up the the high level were everyone can participate.
> >
> > From my perspective I think we have the following issues and positions:
> >
> > 1)  Difficulty of Serialization Vs. XML:
> >
> > Jeremy: Serialization is just as difficult as XML and has the same 
> > inherent problems when you upgrade.
> >
> > Others: XMl is much easier to implement and is much easier to process 
> > when you upgrade.
> >
> >
> > 2) If serialization is harder and more error prone then XML, is XML 
> > sufficient to address the configuration of geronimo.
> >
> > Jeremy: Users expect the level of stability that comes from an 
> > application that is serializable stable.
> >
> > Others: Most platforms use XML already so it must be sufficient.
> >
> >
> >
> > I hope I have not miss represented the discussion.  This is an 
> > important discussion to every one involved with Geronimo, and I hope 
> > we can continue this discussion (at a little bit higher level) so that 
> > more people can participate.
> >
> > -dain
> >

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