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I agree with Dave. That article doesn't tell us much that is new
and Cringely is missing the trends in government sectors that
will sustain XML companies better than startups and
entertainment companies. Until we get a larger community
of authors, artists, etc. who are able to make a living
on web content, the boredom factor keeps it from growing.
OTOH, this is a business area much like neighborhood coffee shops
and bars: just as the big barn restaurants are dieing out,
the neighborhood entrepeneurs look like geniuses to their
accountants. The comfort factor, the familiarity, and the
sense of security that if the teen agers are there, they are
in good hands, plus the walkin element makes these profitable
if not a get rich quick scheme. Smart owners are accepting
lower profits and break even schemes, and smart entertainers
are bringing their fees in line with smaller rooms, fewer hours,
fewer seats and more family-oriented entertainment. Web businesses can do
the same and stay in business. It isn't a niche as much
as a local focus. There are problems of managing the focus
but that is a normal problem.
Patents are irksome but the CS industry at large is comfortable with them,
dealt with them in the past, and will deal with them now. It
is the development startups and open software communities that have a problem.
It does mean someone in the company or a service does the
relevant research. Another boon for patent attorneys.
Watching XML is as exciting as watching old ladies knitting
in rocking chairs. That is how it should be. XML is an
enabler. Google remains the engine that could to the
web user. Where an XML developer begins to understand
the principles of say CRM, outward facing applications,
and doesn't try to sell the web just as the web, that is,
clearly sees the thin-client does well where the application
has a strong communication aspect instead of trying to shoehorn
all of the applications into a thin-client architecture, there
is a lot of good business out there. Experience counts
particularly subject matter expertise. Markup projects have
always required that with markup being just a tool on the belt.
Most SGML projects in my memory that tried to use abstractions as
a substitute for domain knowledge died in version 0.9. XML
is no different. AsIs-ToBe is still the correct order of tag
If you can find a "killer app" development project; fine. But
sustainment of business is the first order of the day. A smaller
percentage margin with all bills paid on time is a healthy business.
If you can sustain a staff, when that magical once in a lifetime
risky but huge payoff project appears, you have the get go to
get going. That is how little companies become big ones without
selling their souls to the VC ghouls.