Nick Heer writes about the changes to iWork for Mac’s file formats, moving away from XML in favour of spreading data across many smaller data files.

I think the new file format is a regression, though. I would love to know the justification for these obfuscated data files, and what advantages they bring over the previous XML-based format. I’d love to be able to tell you what advantages they bring, but they’re unreadable. This isn’t yet a problem for end users, aside from the lack of backwards compatibility, but it might be in the future.

I’m no expert but it seems to me that this change would be necessary to support iWork’s collaboration feature. Having data split across a large number of incredibly small files would provide a much better way of managing collaboration than trying to deal with the constant merging of entire XML files, especially when dealing with larger documents.

Via Daring Fireball.

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