Regulating the XML Marketplace
cbullard at hiwaay.net
Tue Jan 12 01:54:58 GMT 1999
Paul Prescod wrote:
> In many of XML's markets (unlike many of
> SGML's markets) the move to XML actually saves money in the short, medium
> and long terms. Traditionally SGML has only saved money in the long term.
Basically right. SGML and SGML systems:
o Were typically expensive to acquire and set up. Lack of cheap
tools (until SGMLS, IADS, etc.), lack of expertise (little training
in the universities, mostly fueled by high-dollar aerospace/DoD
efforts, homegrown, fed by the kindness of strangers).
o Mired in the print technology of the time and forced to compete
with WYSIWYG systems. Saying markup could support objects was once
considered a statement of *magic* and taken almost as seriously.
Goldfarb and Rubinsky had to defend the idea that SGML could even
support real hypertext. The fights between the PostScript/LaTex
and SGML communities were legends and some are still happening.
o Forced down odd paths of development by requirements of the
standards process that demanded any attempts to look at markup as an
application of programming be disregarded.
o Subject to the misguided rants of the HTML community that declared it
hard, too obtuse, too syntactically strange" (see TimBL)
and so it goes.
XML is in a much better position to make the benefits of markup
more profitable. Will a killer app emerge? Folks, that is like
Elvis: largely a context issue for a certain time when a certain
realization takes hold. Mosaic was not a great development to those
of us who already had SGML-based, DTD-aware, stylesheet driven
hypertext in 1992. It wasn't. When you remember just how
few people did (check out the prices of hypertext browsers and
authoring tools then), then the idea that a lot of folks already
understand XML (they don't) is self-defeating. Still, I don't think it
necessary to evangelize XML as much as it is necessary to get the
language communities currently designing their next generation of
languages and applications to use it. XML's successful emergence
will not come as the result of a killer app, but when a set of
DIFFERENT XML applications interoperate, share information, and
enable an enterprise to be more competitive. That has been the
goal for over fifteen years and you are much closer today to
realizing it than ever. Target the companies that have:
o Data with long lifecycles (Still the biggest payoff)
o Lots of little data pockets (aka, islands of automation)
o The requirement to dynamically create JIT documents
o The requirement to share those documents across organizational
boundaries without requiring *economic bullpens* (see
contractually bound communications and delivery of data)
The good news is the quiet revolution has been won and the
emerging evolution has begun. This isn't about new ideas.
This is about cost-effective, sustainable implementations.
Like SGML at its best, an XML application is successful when
invisible. So, Paul is right; the secret is not the
demonstration of XML. It is the application of XML.
Y'all really need to decide what to do about architectures.
They are critical. Base enabling applications would surely
help clean up the standards and that is a big favor to the
next generation of software developers. Ask me about the
problems of the FedsPostCALS: very little change in the
data delivery and maintenance nightmares. Real drag on the
economy, that one.
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