[TUHS] A question about ls(1)

Michael Kjörling michael at kjorling.se
Tue Apr 30 16:44:08 AEST 2019

On 29 Apr 2019 16:44 -0400, from cbbrowne at gmail.com (Christopher Browne):
> He also contended that the world might be a better place if LibreOffice
> documents were captured as SQLite databases rather than being bundles of
> XML stored in a .zip archive.  That's a nice lively argument to have.
> Actually poke at the slides at PGCon 2014; he makes similar arguments
> about git repos (what if metadata were in a database?) and ePub book
> files.

At least OpenDocument is an ISO standard; and while it looks at a
glance like the Zip file format and compression themselves aren't
specified in it (at eight pages, there isn't a lot of room for
detailed technical descriptions), ISO/IEC 21320-1:2015 "normatively
references the Zip File Format Specification version 6.3.3 of PKWARE®
Inc", stating that "[d]ocument container files are conforming Zip
files as specified by that document". (Quoted from the summary page.)



I could be wrong, but I don't _think_ that SQLite has reached quite
that level of adoption.

Also, relational databases have their advantages (I work with them
myself), but lots of office-type documents (word processing documents,
spreadsheets, presentations, etc.) inherently have a somewhat
hierarchical or run-on data structure, lending themselves well to a
hierarchical format. Whether we like it or not, XML also has the
advantage of being a well-established standard for data serialization,
and _with a schema_, can be readily validated.

And if you don't like the outer Zip file container, at least
OpenDocument also allows for single flat XML files. (Typical file name
extension .fo[dt][gpst], as opposed to .o[dt][gpst] for the Zip
container counterpart.) I'm pretty sure LibreOffice can be set up to
save as such files even by default, if that's your cup of tea. Those
get awfully big the moment you start including any non-trivial
content, though.

Michael Kjörling • https://michael.kjorling.semichael at kjorling.se
  “The most dangerous thought that you can have as a creative person
              is to think you know what you’re doing.” (Bret Victor)

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