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Mainframes and XML (RE: XML Blueberry)

Title: Mainframes and XML (RE: XML Blueberry)

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Benjamin Franz [mailto:snowhare@nihongo.org]
> Sent: Friday, June 22, 2001 7:23 AM
> To: xml-dev@lists.xml.org
> Subject: Re: XML Blueberry
> I would contend that given the 25 year old trend of migration
> _away_ from mainframes and the almost frightenly fast adoption of XML 1.0
> worldwide, that significantly more pain is already attached to breaking
> interoperability for XML than in NOT allowing NEL as an accepted
> whitespace char.

I don't really have the facts here, maybe someone else does, but I suspect that it's not a migration away from mainframes as much as a dramatic expansion of the non-mainframe world over the past 25 years.  I'm reasonably sure that much of IBM's profitability (which allows it's very generous support of XML) is due to revenues from the "legacy" mainframe infrastructure... the same is probably true for my employer.  I'm also reasonably sure that if all the mainframes in the world somehow disappeared today, the world economy as we know it would collapse immediately.

XML has generated a phenomenal amount of interest, and surveys show that a healthy percentage of business transactions are likely to be XML-enabled in a couple of years.  But if XML somehow disappeared today, would the world even notice?  (Not sure ... certainly a few prominent web sites would collapse, and NASDAQ would probably take a hit, and we'd all have to do something less fun for a living!). 

My biggest concern in this debate is not a critical need to support the NEL character (or Unicode 3.x), but the sense of inevitable victory by XML I detect in some postings.  OS/2 attracted a lot of interest in the late 1980's, and surveys showed that a very healthy percentage of computers would be running on it a couple of years later.  Windows 3.x blew it out of the water, and made the forecasts laughable.  The same could happen to forecasts for XML if we take ourselves too seriously and assume that XML has "won" before the race has truly begun (or the competitors identified!).

The hype machine giveth, and the hype machine taketh away.  I'll be convinced that XML (probably some future revision that eliminates some of the pain for real-world users) will "win" when -- like mainframes today -- no one could take it away without causing massive pain.