[[art of Unix programming]] has insights on it… Note Windows tend to use binary file formats, whereas the Unix tradition favors textual.
Standard cvs format is not well designed. Its use of double-quote is criticized.
The /etc/passwd format supports metachar embedding better than standard csv.
The “record-jar” format combines cookie-jar with RFC-822 format and is more human-friendly than xml, ini, and cvs. It has field names. Its values can be unstructured text. It also supports “stanza” records.
xml can be checked for well-formed even without a DTD or schema.