By Noah | March 23, 2009
James Clark, one of the co-inventors of XML, has an interesting blog posting on his week spent working with the Oslo team at Microsoft. James observes:
“Does M really have the potential in the long term to be an interesting and useful alternative to XML?”. My tentative answer is yes.
Microsoft is addressing the whole stack. An alternative to XML needs to provide not only an alternative to XML itself but also alternatives to XSD/RELAX NG and XQuery/XSLT.
I have very mixed feelings about anyone promoting a proprietary alternative to XML right now, but James also addresses one of the main technical concerns I’ve had with Oslo:
Microsoft seem willing to take documents seriously. This is a make or break issue for me, because the kind of data I care about most is documents and M, as it is today, is not useful for documents.
Yes. Right now, Oslo‘s “M” language is much closer in capability to JSON than to XML in its capabilities. That is, M and JSON are quite suitable frameworks for creating, say, lists of employees and their salaries, but less good frameworks for capturing their resumés. In any case, it looks like Oslo is in part being positioned as a competitor to XML.