Roman Sandals

February 12, 2009

What does Pee Wee Herman have to do with YAML?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — rchanter @ 11:14 am

Indeed, I often feel that XML documents, when compared with equivalent YAML files, demonstrate all the grace and calm reserve of a Pee-wee Herman chase scene (complete with rope swing, speedboat, sleigh, and man in a Godzilla costume).

That’s a quote from this book by André Ben Hamou, and it’s pretty much exactly how I feel about data serialisation. YAML has become my go-to format for just about everything. Why I love YAML:

  • It’s really easy to map out and visualise complex data structures, especially in languages like Perl where this can be a bit of a pain.
  • It’s completely cross-platform. so I can transport stuff between all the languages I write (yeah, OK, both of them if you don’t count 37 dialects of shell).
  • It’s safe — no eval required
  • Once your code is built to marshal/unmarshal using YAML, adding support for more formats (JSON, XML, language-native formats) is a piece of piss.

I will never write a config file parser again, nor hinky semi-structured report formats.


  1. I have my doubts. You ought to illustrate the differences with a side-by-side comparison.

    Comment by rone — February 12, 2009 @ 2:38 pm

  2. Ruby can die in a fire. I agree with you WRT XML though

    Comment by John Slee — August 23, 2010 @ 5:33 pm

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