Harold Hausman wrote:

/ ...

> Storing the binary as a seperate file is a great solution. In our
> particular case we like to have the data in one big xml file for the
> purposes of source control. I'm sure I don't need to expound on the
> greatness of plain text on the Ruby list,

Or anywhere else IMHO. It's the ultimate in reusability and portability.

> but the source control 
> system we use doesn't play exceptionally well with binary files.

At its base, this problem is one of statistics. The longer a pure-binary
data block becomes, the more likely that there will be an appearance of the
character sequence required to terminate the block. And if the obvious
solution is applied, that of using some coding that cannot deviate from a
safe syntax (like hexadecimal ASCII characters), the block becomes more
than twice as large as the original, seriously cutting into storage and
time efficiency.

-- 
Paul Lutus
http://www.arachnoid.com