Is XML Perfect

Of course, there's no such thing as a free lunch. The cost of the convenience offered by XML is a larger payload. The example patient-visit information rendered using HL7 takes up about 64 bytes (assuming 1 byte per character). The XML alternative uses about 308 bytes. In real-world applications, the size difference is generally not that great, and while it's not insignificant, it probably doesn't matter all that much, for a couple of reasons. The first is the increased bandwidth available to many users these days. The difference between sending 64 bytes and 308 bytes, in terms of time perceived by the user, is inconsequential. Second, the XML data is highly compressible. Given current technologies, compressing the XML for transport over a limited bandwidth line, or for storage, is a reasonable option.

As you'll see in Chapter 10, XML is also at the heart of XML Web services. By using XML as a way to communicate information, XML-enabled applications written in any language on any platform can work with other XML-enabled applications written in any language and on any platform. Given that XML is so critical to .NET data handling in general and to XML Web services in particular, you'd expect to find generous support for XML within the .NET Framework, and you'd be correct.

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