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  • Is iPhoto's storage format known? I read somewhere that starting with Keynote (and following up on the preferences and stuff), Apple was to use XML as the storage format for an increasing number of its apps. Not to over-pitch XML (especially as Keynote's format could be much improved upon, notably by using SVG instead of copying it) but it would make export trivial, could be used directly in AxKit's image gallery, would allow one to search for pics using Find::File::Rule::XPath, etc.

    robin, who's to


    -- Robin Berjon []

    • by ziggy (25) on 2003.02.01 12:13 (#16621) Journal
      Not to over-pitch XML (especially as Keynote's format could be much improved upon, notably by using SVG instead of copying it)
      I don't condone what Apple did, but I don't condemn them either. Even Tim Bray has said on occasion that it is more important to start using XML than to wait for a nice-sounding whiz-bang specification to gel.

      I was in a position when I needed an Schema language for XML in 1999. Shortly thereafter, we needed an XML Query language for the same project, just before the first XML Query notes were published. Had we waited for XML Schema to work out, that project might still be in development instead of shipping for 3 years. Double ditto for XML Query. (It also helps that this was an internal project; the internal use of XML was an implementation detail, much like the use of XML as Apple's PList and Keynote Formats.)

      If I were to start that project today, I might still be tempted to do something similar again. Instead of fighting with a spec like WXS or implementing Relax NG (assuming Daniel Veillard wasn't already doing it, and I couldn't use TRANG), it would be a better use of precious developer resources to develop the simplest XML language that could possibly work and move on from there. Keynote didn't develop overnight; it sounds like Steve has been using it for 2-3 years, which means that the project is likely 3-4 years old. Going back that far, it is possible that the Keynote development team had to make similar tradeoffs and came to a similar conclusion. Were they starting today, I think it would be much more probably that they would start with SVG from the beginning.

      Yes, it is better to use standards instead of reinventing them poorly. I don't know the constraints of the Keynote team, but their situation could have been similar to other projects where it was too expensive to implement a full standard or wait for a standard to gel.

      • Oh I know that ad hoc is good, I'm a great advocate of using ad hoc vocabularies and do so whenever there is no existing solution that satisfies me (which is why I never use DocBook, only convert to it).

        However SVG 1.0 has been around for a while, and Apple was on the WG. I know they wanted to use it for some OS X stuff but had to ship earlier than the spec was released. However I am having some trouble understanding why they're using things like <g transformation='1 0 2 2 3 6'> instead of


        -- Robin Berjon []