RE: XML - where's the beef?

Subject: RE: XML - where's the beef?
From: Chris Despopoulos <cud -at- telecable -dot- es>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 31 May 2001 11:15:09 +0200

One thing most folks seem to forget about whenever XML is the topic - SGML. In fact, there's plenty of information already in SGML, and already used to great advantage. I recall a presentation I saw from an airline company that used FrameMaker+SGML plus a great content management system to assemble procedural docs for scheduled engine overhauls. The problem is huge... An engine consists of many sub-systems, and they may have been installed/modified/changed out over a long period of history. And so, compiling an overhaul procedure that accounts for a specific engine's history can take a team of engineers months to complete. With this system, they cut the time down to 3 weeks.

But that's not XML, you say? So what? The systems currently invested in SGML are only waiting for a compelling reason to convert over to XML. The initial aim of XML (if I'm not mistaken) was to sort of dumb down SGML - and maybe add a few gee-gaws in the process. The upshot is that more people know about the concept of standard generalized markup. And the B2B group sees this as a new market, too. So it gets more press. Meanwhile, the work that has been in progress since the '80s continues, hype notwithstanding.

As for the future - one impediment to XML as a standard for B2B is bandwidth. That probably has alot to do with the current B2B crisis in the market, BTW. B2B has given Java a tremendous shot in the arm. MicroSoft is quietly moving ahead with the .NET platform, buying up service companies that use B2B-like busines models, and preparing everybody outside of Silicon Valley to believe that .NET will be the only viable option. When the bandwidth hits, they will do their best to kill Java, and may indeed succeed.

By then, XML will touch you more and more. When you schedule your doctor and mechanic appointments, buy groceries online, do your banking, use your mobil phone to pay at the store, etc - it will all utilize XML. We're just waiting for the new backbone to get in place.

Cheers cud


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