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   RE: power uses of XML vs. simple uses of XML

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  • From: "Bullard, Claude L (Len)" <clbullar@ingr.com>
  • To: "Simon St.Laurent" <simonstl@simonstl.com>, XML-Dev Mailing list <xml-dev@xml.org>
  • Date: Sun, 9 Jul 2000 12:54:36 -0500

The level of application potential and the level 
of application requirement vary, of course.  Understand 
that originally, many SGML applications were aimed 
at a user that was NOT a programmer.   During this 
period, it was easy to see that even the least 
power required a lot of skill and insight.  So, SGML 
gained a reputation for complexity and obscurity on 
one end of the spectrum of users, and of simplicity 
and obscurity on the other end.    WYSIWYG gained 
in popularity because while it was not particularly 
flexible, it along with the advent of laser printers 
was powerful enough to do the job at hand:  printing.  

Remember, before 1988, few people talked about the 
concepts that would become B2B, then enterprise 
engineering, CALS, PDES, and so forth.  These people 
realized quickly that it would not be possible to 
ever achieve the levels of integration needed based 
on WYSIWYG and simple relational systems.  They 
pressed on into harder to implement concepts, some of which 
were not economically realizable outside the black 
programs and politically impossible.  They had to do 
that while enduring the ridicule of being called 
"the left wing lunatic fringe of SGML" by those 
who not only did not understand the advantages, they 
simply wanted their funding.

Sometimes, the theorists and adventurers have to 
go ahead and create what they think will work cognizant 
of the fact that by the time an imminent well-funded requirement 
emerges, it may be years later and there will be different 
names on the specifications.  That is a hard and bitter 
pill, but it is the case.   NASA has been working on 
ion engines since the mid sixties.  Only in the 
90s did we finally see a working engine and no one 
who worked on that team was an inventor of the technology, 
the concepts, just the implementations.  It was not 
pleasant to look at the gathered moguls of Lockheed 
Martin some years ago and tell them that after a decade 
of IETM research, all of the project money spent, and 
all the reputations justly earned, that they would have 
to put most of it away and go with web technology until 
it had the power of the systems they already had running 
and for sale.  It was necessary because now a bigger, 
less technical community had emerged and the community 
could not absorb the complexity or cost of these more 
powerful systems but the economic justification of 
recruiting from their ranks outweighed the local 
economies of better systems.

There are other ways to do what XML does.  There are 
other ways to do most of what is done in computer 
science applications.  We pick the ones that make 
the most sense with regards to resource and requirements 
and move on.  Every two decades you will repeat most 
of the developments of the decade before those at a 
larger scale.  Ask any black bluesman about rock.  We 
have to do that; that is the learning that 
is fed back and amplified, reinforced, and broadcast. 
It is pop culture and pop techology reflected in art 
and in claw hammers.

Len Bullard
Intergraph Public Safety

Ekam sat.h, Vipraah bahudhaa vadanti.
Daamyata. Datta. Dayadhvam.h

From: Simon St.Laurent [mailto:simonstl@simonstl.com]

I occasionally hear claims that "they just don't understand", but I think
there's something a lot deeper than that going on.  What exactly, I'm not
sure, but I suspect that practice will differ from best practice will
differ from specification in a lot of unexpected ways over the next few
years, and likely because of this disconnect.

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