Maybe a naive question about XML Data

David Megginson david at
Fri Mar 26 18:14:23 GMT 1999

Peter Zingg writes:

 > Microsoft and global domination.  You can bet that all of the MS
 > data access and programming tools (ADO, OLE DB, VB, VC++) will be
 > built around it.

I wouldn't make any such bet.  I'm not a Windows developer myself, but 
I've heard a lot of grumbling about MS abandoning its own technologies 
frequently and with little or no notice.

 > What would you do if you wanted to commit to a company-wide XML
 > strategy today?

No competent system architect should ever design a system architecture
around vendor-specific interfaces and specs except in the direst need
(and even then, she's probably better to quit and try to salvage
what's left of her reputation).

If you use vendor-specific stuff, move it to behind generic interfaces
where it can easily be changed without damaging the rest of the
system; otherwise, it will be Microsoft (or Sun or IBM or Adobe or
Texcel or what have you) who will be deciding the future evolution,
maintenance schedule, and lifespan of your system for you, and you'll
just be a helpless spectator.

So far, that's all system-architecture motherhood and apple pie (or
social welfare and poutine, up here in Central Canada).  The less
obvious point is that open standards like XML, CORBA, etc. also really
don't belong in the high-level system design: they should have nothing
to do with *what* your system does, only with *how* your system does
it, and that's an implementation detail.

If there are parts of a planned or existing system that could benefit
from using XML in their implementations, then by all means, introduce
some XML.  Start small to see if and how you're getting a real benefit
from the XML, then gradually introduce XML into other parts of the
system until you feel confident that you're getting the most benefit
from it.

All the best,


David Megginson                 david at

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