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   Re: [xml-dev] Tim Bray on "Which Technologies Matter?"

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3/18/2002 2:39:01 AM, Tim Bray <tbray@textuality.com> wrote:

>5. The real point is that a bunch of things that ought to be predictors
>    for technology success (thus defined) don't work very well.

That's exactly what caught my attention in the first place.  I'm sure that
many of us are involved in discussions about where to place bets on
the future commercial importance of one XML technology or another.  RELAX-NG
is a popular thing to argue about, for example. Some will say "Fuggitaboudit,
the W3C spec is the only one that managers support, the only one that
real companies with  money support, the "real" standard, with real
implementations, and programmers will use it because the tools make it
less painful."  All I can say in reply is "Yeah, but RELAX-NG absolutely
NAILS the 80/20 point, and in the long run that will outweigh all the 
others."  It was heartening to see Tim's examples supporting this.
>6. I claim that hitting an 80/20 point is a strong predictor of
>    success (positive and also negative in that technologies that don't
>    hit it usually don't succeed), that there are a few less strong
>    predictors (happy programmers, good early implementations, technical
>    elegance), and that military backing is a weakish negative
>    indicators.

I had hoped that people would hit on some of these points.  Are there any
technologies that DID hit a clear 80/20 point that lost out in the 
marketplace to more complex competitors (that weren't already entrenched)?

Are there any successful technologies that didn't hit an 80/20 point that
succeeded because of management, investor, programmer, early implementation,
or military support?  The only examples I can think of are Windows, C++,
and XSLT.  Windows didn't have any competition, C++ immediately attracted
competitors that quite successfully attacked it at the 80/20 point, and
XSLT's 80/20 point is what people actually use. 

Finally, if Tim is right, what XML technologies would YOU bet on as 
market successes?  RELAX-NG has already been mentioned ... I can't think
of others that clearly try for the 80/20 point.  XML-RPC, maybe, that 
might be an interesting prediction (I wouldn't bet on it, because I
don't think it really delivers 80% of the functionality of the alternatives).
Or maybe the market itself will carve out the 80/20 point of the W3C's
output and full XSD, XLink, Xpointer, XQuery, etc. conformance will not be 
commercially important?  Or that there is a change of heart in the various
standards organizations and 80/20 going forward is considered more important than 
backward compatibility?


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