Why XML?

David Megginson david at megginson.com
Mon Oct 18 14:26:32 BST 1999

David Power <david.power at fms.ie> writes:

> Firstly I must say that I support the use of  XML,
> where it fits. Sometimes I think it is difficult to 
> see exactly where it fits. One of our Directors has
> decided that XML is a great solution for our internal
> out-sourcing system. It is an SQL database that 
> we render on browsers in HTML 4.0 using VB + 
> Javascripting. It is strictly for internal use and everyone
> uses IE 4.0 to view it (no probs). 
> What is the advantage of using XML in this loop?  

That's the wrong question (though I'm sure that you'll be flooded with
well-meaning replies in the next few hours).  The right question will
look something like this:

  My requirements are X and Y: what are the best standards and
  technologies to meet these requirements?

Obviously, in this case the phrasing of the question is the Director's
fault and not yours, but it doesn't sound as if you actually have any
unmet requirements in this part of your current system, so why is your
Director looking?

Here's a hunch: do you (or your directors) have other, unexpressed
requirements like future-proofing, vendor-independence, open-standards
conformance, techno-diversity, or security?  Even just looking for a
bit of a media buzz is a legitimate requirement, but you (or your
director) should make it explicit so that everyone knows what their
real goals are and so that you can do a reasonable cost/benefit

All the best,


David Megginson                 david at megginson.com

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