XML for formatting (Re: Environment monitoring)

Robert G. Brown rgb at phy.duke.edu
Fri Oct 17 09:43:07 EDT 2003

On Thu, 16 Oct 2003, Donald Becker wrote:

> translate between domains.  For instance, you can't take MPI packed data
> and
>    automatically convert it to (useful) XML,
>    pass it to an object broker system, or
>    call a non-MPI remote procedure

Yes indeedy.  And since XML is at heart linked lists (trees) of structs
as well, you still can't get around the difficulty of mapping a
previously unseen data file containing XMLish into a set of efficiently
accessible structs.  Which is doable, but is a royal PITA and requires
that you maintain DISTINCT (and probably non-portable)
images/descriptions of the data structures and then write all this glue
code to import and export.

So yeah, I have fantasies of ways of encapsulating C header files and a
data dictionary in an XMLified datafile and a toolset that at the very
least made it "easy" to relink a piece of C code to read in the datafile
and just put the data into the associated structs where I could
subsequently use them EFFICIENTLY by local or global name.  I haven't
managed to make this really portable even in my own code, though -- it
isn't an easy problem (so difficult that ad hoc workarounds seem the
simpler route to take).

This really needs a committee or something and a few zillion NSF dollars
to resolve, because it is a fairly serious and widespread problem.


Robert G. Brown	                       http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb/
Duke University Dept. of Physics, Box 90305
Durham, N.C. 27708-0305
Phone: 1-919-660-2567  Fax: 919-660-2525     email:rgb at phy.duke.edu

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