SGML/XML 98 Paris, another take
north at Synopsys.COM
Tue May 26 09:28:28 BST 1998
Umm, was I at the same conference as Betty and Peter? Here's my take
on a couple of the items.
Microsoft: what I saw was an animated presentation of XML being used
a *wrapper* to carry the inter-Office package 'meta' data. The actual
data was unchanged, but when importing a chart plot into the Excel
spreadsheet, the data describing its size and other properties was in
XML. This is rather different to saving the whole thing in XML ...
however, on the other hand it opens up extremely interesting
possibilities for third-party add-on producers who could use the XML
data as part of a rudimentary API.
Netscape: [I am a Netscape 'fan'], I thought the presentation was a
little sad. Yes, we saw a version of 5 in action, incorporating a
browsable view of the local filesystem in a vertical left frame and
some neat tricks with bookmarks using RDF. However, much of the
presentation was a pep talk about Netscape's new open code policy -
with all sorts of name drops in the direction of Linux. Maybe I'm too
cynical, but the whole thing came across as more of a plea for help
than a ground-breaking demo. Oh, how the mighty are fallen.
There was an interesting, but very subdued needle session between
various other presenters and Microsoft, it didn't quite go as far as
outright Microsoft-bashing, but it did come close. Microsoft is
holding to a three-tier approach, using XML as middleware and HTML as
the presentation format. Several people warned against the 'dangers'
of considering XML as just middleware.
Namespaces: no-one is happy about namespaces. Maybe I should leave it
to Jon himself to speak his piece, but in the panel session on the
current status of the standards (SGML + XML) he said that XML was
almost stopped in its tracks by the W3C because other working groups
claimed that the XML group was not giving them what they needed.
Namespaces was more or less forced on them (he didn't actually say
the words 'ad hoc solution' but that was the flavour) and there are
a lot of problems with it.
As soon as I get the time, I too will write up a full report.
Simon North north at synopsys.com sintac at xs4all.nl
PGP Fingerprint 97FA 6A6C 1136 A66A 431D 8454 9C16 F677 A4C8 9CE2
"Presenting XML", "HTML4 Unleashed, Professional Reference Edition",
"Dynamic Web Publishing Unleashed"
So much stupidity ... so few comets ...
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