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   Re: It's time for practical XML!

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  • From: "Bill la Forge" <b.laforge@jxml.com>
  • To: "James Robertson" <jamesr@steptwo.com.au>, <xml-dev@ic.ac.uk>
  • Date: Sat, 3 Oct 1998 12:30:17 -0400

>Most of these solutions need to be commercial,
>with support, documentation, upgrade plans,
>bug-fix releases. Business will not use unsupported
>freeware, and they _will_ pay for the tools they

I know pleanty of programmers who would love a
job where they could work on these things. The
problem seems to be in the business model.

First, the internet is funny. Lots of folks willing to
join a mailing list or download something that's
free. But ask for a name and the numbers shrink.
Ask for cash, and you will be luck to get any
responses. And would you give me your credit
card number? Really?

One of the problems here is open standards.
They are vital, but it means the small business
may not have too much of a competitive edge
when the big companies move in to take over
a growing market. And a business plan must
balance risks against potential profits. And 
without a business plan, there is no payroll for
all those programmers who want to do this work.

So we keep coming back to freeware.

Now there are workable business plans. But they
generally involve an element of consulting. Which
is one way of avoiding the risks of an open market.
But that doesn't give you the tools you want.

One way out of this mess is the killer app. Another
way is to broaden the market. And I think we could
broaden the market by making it easy for all those
Java programmers to write XML-based applications.
But even that will take time.

Of course, there's another complication. There is a 
segment of every open standards community that
would rather see only freeware. Or perhaps they 
dislike proprietary products enough that any commercial-
sounding endevor is discouraged. And yes, since a
business must sell-or-die, there is a strong tendency
to anti-social behavior. So things aren't all one sided.

In any case, I think you are going to remain frustrated
for a while, internet time that is. Though things seem
to be moving even faster for XML than they did for
Java. So there is hope. :-)


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