[BitTorrent] XML Torrents?

Justin Cormack justin at street-vision.com
Fri Mar 11 05:18:16 EST 2005

> On Thu, 10 Mar 2005 08:14:25 -0800, Kenneth Porter <shiva at sewingwitch.com> wrote:
> > At the risk of getting stoned for heresy ;) I'm wondering why .torrent
> > files aren't implemented in XML? The recent thread confusing the filename
> > encoding scheme suggests that a human-readable, extensible,
> > self-documenting format, one with many off-the-shelf tools available, would
> > be better than a new binary format.
> > What constraints make the binary format preferable?
> XML is bloated. XML has lots of stuff we dont need, and it takes up
> much much more space. bencoding is a nice, easily machine-readable,
> compact format.
> bottom line: There is no reason to switch to XML. And we wont escape
> the different character encoding diffuculties by that.

Actually the character encoding and space reasons are relatively minor.
For many purposes it would be very useful to have a text format (eg to
send a torrent by email). However it is required that there is a unique
representation of the info portion of the torrent file so that the info
hash can be generated (hence the rules about ordering of fields in bencoding).
XML doesnt give you a fixed representation, so you still need some canonical

You could make an XML form where the info part in bencoded form could be
uniquely regenerated to generate/verify the hash.


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