XML (1.0 or 1.1 as presently conceived) is far from perfect as a serialization format for objects or binary data. BUT once the data is in XML, it is (in principle) liberated from the application or class definitions that produced it. One might think of some SOAP message as a kludgy serialization of some business object, but for others it's an XML "document" that they can whack on with XPath/XQuery/XSLT/SAX/DOM/RDF/godonlyknowswhat. THAT's the real power of XML as an object serialization format, and this totally overwhelms its limitations ... at least today. If someday there are cheap, ubiquitous ASN.1 tools for parsing, transformation, manipulation, display, and querying, then this advantage of XML goes away, and we'll be arguing about this on ASN-DEV or whatever.
--Mike Champion on the xml-dev mailing list