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   Re: It's time for practical XML!

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  • From: Paul Prescod <papresco@technologist.com>
  • To: xml-dev@ic.ac.uk
  • Date: Sat, 03 Oct 1998 23:16:21 -0500

James Robertson wrote:
> Hi all,
> I've just finished another couple of hours
> wading through XML-DEV and XML-L, and I
> confess my frustration has overtaken me.

I'm sorry about your frustration, but my experience has been that mailing
list diatribes seldom spur much action.

> It's time to stop writing standards.
> I don't want to know about any more
> *ML languages, however elegant they
> are. 

I thought that it was widely agreed that one of XML's most exciting
applications is inter-organization standardization. It seems incredible
that we would do all of the hard work required to build an infrastructure
for that (XML 1.0) and then not actually create the inter-organization
interchange specifications. Surely interchange is XML's killer app
(oops!). And you can't get interchange with XML 1.0 alone.

> We are now at the stage where
> new standards are being submitted
> faster than old ones are being finalised.

Most of these are not new standards. There isn't a single *ML in the list
of working drafts. They are W3C notes. They are trial balloons. They are
ideas. We cannot outlaw people having ideas, and frankly I don't want to.
"Chaos is the engine." -- Len Bullard.

> What we all need is: [Software, software, software]

How do XML-DEV discussions prevent the creation of this software? Most
XML-DEV descussions are about people who are new to XML (or sometimes very
experienced) trying to figure out how to apply it to their business
problems: about expanding the user base: expanding the market for the
tools you describe. For instance the recent topic maps and public
identifiers discussion is about expanding the market by making *ML
applicable to huge library catalogs. "All of the libraries in the world"
-- just a tiny little market that Steve happens to think is worth

> Most of these solutions need to be commercial,
> with support, documentation, upgrade plans,
> bug-fix releases. Business will not use unsupported
> freeware, 

That's not true. Show me a business that is not using Apache, Perl,
Python, sendmail or some JVM and I'll show you a business that deserves to
fail (and probably will). I work with massive companies that happily use
Python, Perl, Jade and SP. In fact, I wouldn't know HOW to sell a solution
that didn't involve SP somehow.

> and they _will_ pay for the tools they
> need.

But that is true.

> To them I say: Please, please, stop writing new
> specs, and help us all by writing real apps.

People write specs to try and understand their problem domain and to share
that understanding with other people. If you understand yur problem domain
well enough to know exactly what code needs to be written, then you are
the logical person to write it! That's what I'm doing. (but sorry, I'm
going to release my software for free, not sell it)

 Paul Prescod  - http://itrc.uwaterloo.ca/~papresco

Bart: Dad, do I really have to brush my teeth?
Homer: No, but at least wash your mouth out with soda.

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