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   Re: RE: [xml-dev] Painful USA Today article (was RE: [xml-dev] ANN:RESTT

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5/21/2002 3:39:12 PM, Betty Harvey <harvey@eccnet.com> wrote:

>XML has so much promise in so many areas.  From my personal perspective I
>am seeing the demand for XML dwindling.  Some of it may be because of the
>economy but I believe a lot of it is because of the confusion around the
>competing specifications.  Organizations that were seriously thinking
>about starting XML projects have taken a 'wait and see' attitude.

Hmmm .... Assuming this is true (and I don't have any evidence to 
contradict it), why is this happening, and what can be done about it?

I wonder whether we're seeing the deflation of over-inflated expectations, 
the failure to achieve realistic expectations, or the false perception
that expectations haven't been achieved.  I think there's a bit of the
first and last.  The GAO report keeps coming to mind -- any assumption
that competitive industries or infighting agencies would agree on the
One True XML DTD/Schema was absurd from the beginning, and this has nothing
to do with technology.   On the other hand,
if XML's ability to meet realistic expectations -- it's a vendor/platform/
language-neutral syntax for document and data interchange, with a suite
of tools to facilitate building applications to do this -- is evaluated,
I think it has to be considered a success. Just as Wall Street analysts'
expectations have to be skillfully managed for a company's finances to
be considered successful, expectations about technology have to be 
skillfully managed to achieve the right mix of enthusiasm and skepticism
that would avoid the hype overshoot and collapse phenomenon.

So what's to be done?  I hope nobody takes away the message that it's
the confusion about the competing specs rather than the intrinsic
confusingness of trying to solve many problems at once that is at the
root of the problem here.  Would anyone seriously argue that XML
would be taken more seriously if RELAX NG and other challenges to
the orthodoxy just went away?  I suspect that the best way forward is
to define what it is that we all agree works, refactor the specs
to put all this at the core, experiment with various ways to built
on top of the core, but freely admit that we're exploring 
multiple ideas about schemas, query languages, web services architectures,
etc. and the *real* standards for these aren't baked yet.

My experience as an "evangelist" for this stuff is that people want an
honest assessment of what's solid, what's promising, and what sounded like
a good idea but isn't panning out very well.  That goes over well, and
(from my rather tangential involvement in the business side) leads to
real revenue.  It's the "it's going to be GREAT!!! ... just as soon as 
a bunch of vendors implement thousands of pages of specs and your 
industry gets past petty competitive concerns and builds an XML
schema that suits everyone's needs" story that leads to the "wait
and see" attitude... at least in my limited experience and biased


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