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Conclusion - XML

EVM2003 brings XML to the democratic process. In this installment, David discusses his practical experiences developing interrelated XML data formats for the EVM2003 Free Software project to develop voting machines that produce voter-verifiable paper ballots. Some design principles of format subsetting emerge. In addition, David looks at how an application-specific meaning for XML document equivalence can be programmed, and why canonicalization is insufficient. (This intermediate-level article was first published by IBM developerWorks, June 28, 2004, at http://www.ibm.com/developerWorks.)

  1. XML Matters: Practical XML Data Design and Manipulation for Voting Systems
  2. EVM2003 and XML
  3. XML samples
  4. Comparing XML ballots
  5. Conclusion
By: developerWorks
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November 09, 2004

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Quite aside from the political import of EVM2003, I feel a certain satisfaction in working with a Free Software project where XML is so clearly just the right data storage format to use. In many contexts, XML is something that you force on yourself because it seems like the way to go -- but in a few cases, the fit is absolutely perfect. In projects that intersect with standards, I think XML has a particularly strong case in its favor since so many interoperable parsers and binding libraries are available (many of which I have written about in this column). And in projects like EVM2003 where the self-documentation of data formats is important (and while data volume is moderate), XML fits like a glove.


About the author

David MertzDavid Mertz feels that procedural democracy requires that the technical instruments of governance be open for public inspection, every bit as much as it requires the legal acts of government remain so open. David may be reached at mertz@gnosis.cx; his life pored over at http://gnosis.cx/dW/. Suggestions and recommendations on this, past, or future columns are welcomed. Check out David's book Text Processing in Python.

IBM developerWorksVisit developerWorks for thousands of developer articles, tutorials, and resources related to open standard technologies, IBM products, and more. See developerWorks.

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