It's time for practical XML!

Paul Prescod papresco at
Sun Oct 4 06:55:40 BST 1998

I wanted to take issue with your particular product ideas, independent of
your overall thesis.

James Robertson wrote:
> * rock-solid XML parsers for every platform
>   under the sun, especially business development
>   tools like: Visual Basic, Delphi, Powerbuilder,
>   etc.

It would be foolhardy for anyone to make a commercial parser when
Microsoft already has promised that one will ship as a COM object with
every version of Windows and Internet Explorer.

> * Embedded XML editors for use in business-specific
>   applications. These need to be ActiveX controls,
>   Delphi VCLs and the like.

My experience is that it is a lot of work to make a usable editor for
structured documents. The hard part is the user interface. One of the
prerequisites to such an editor is some style sheet language. You can
invent your own, and then retool in a year and a half, but I suspect that
most people would rather just wait for XSL.

> * Thousands of handy little tools that run without
>   virtual machines, or other overhead, with simple
>   interfaces, that make handling XML easy.

It is easy to speak of these tools in the abstract, but hard to make a
business model for selling a little tool at a profit. The problems are not
technical and would not be solved by a smaller number of new ideas
floating around.

 Paul Prescod  -

Bart: Dad, do I really have to brush my teeth?
Homer: No, but at least wash your mouth out with soda.

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