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Re: The relentless march of abstraction (fwd)

At 13:32 27/02/2001 -0500, David Megginson wrote:
>Browsers that support XML + stylesheets (especially CSS) are available
>on millions of desktops, both in the closed source world (MSIE) and in
>the open-source world (Mozilla), and have been for a couple of years.
>We can debate about particulars -- MSIE's support for XSL was pathetic
>for a long time, Mozilla took its time making its DOM stable, etc. --
>but that's splitting hairs: most specs' backers would have been
>grateful for a tiny fraction of the exposure and implementation that
>browser-side XML has already had.  If it's not flying yet, it's
>probably not going to.

I don't think we have enough clues right now to know that it won't fly. 

To begin with, web people still have to support older browsers such as IE4
and Netscape 4 that are still around in sufficient numbers to justify
caring about them. Yes you could send XML+whatever to the others and save
yourself some processing but that's not necessarily a good thing. This dual
scheme would require that the stylesheet language be XSLT which is a lot
harder to understand than CSS to the average web guy that doesn't care
about advanced technology.

Which brings me to the next point: most web agencies are only now starting
to understand what XML is and what it may be used for. I didn't believe it
at first, but after giving a few speeches on SVG at various large web
agencies in the area I realized that they were nearly all still quite
behind in that area. What is this XML thing we hear about ? Is that what's
going to replace PHP ? etc are the kind of questions I get. After a brief
overview they find the stuff interesting, and they get some of the advantages.

Finally, even though I use XML on the server side I'd rather not send it to
the browser just yet. HTML is a well mastered domain, my entire team knows
most of what will work and what won't, where to look for bugs etc...
Outputting xhtml to browsers is the best thing for us until we've gotten to
know the bugs in XML+(CSS,XSLT) browsers. It'll take some time, and given
that the servers work well the way they now do, there's no rush.

I think there's a future for browser-side XML, and possibly a bright one.
It'll take time that's all.

-- robin b.
The first myth of management is that it exists.