OASIS Mailing List ArchivesView the OASIS mailing list archive below
or browse/search using MarkMail.


Help: OASIS Mailing Lists Help | MarkMail Help



   Complexity is bad

[ Lists Home | Date Index | Thread Index ]

Betty Harvey wrote:

> I don't think that we can say that XML isn't a success.  I think XML is a
> BIG success story.  However, with the proliferation of specifications it
> is still confusing to organizational management.

I think Betty is right on the money with this. With SGML, we were essentially
selling an abstracted, independent storage format for data. Any subsequent use of
the data could be separately scoped, and there were any number of options for
accomplishing downstream results. The initial marketing thrust for XML was very
palatable - it is simpler than SGML - so it caught on well straight away.

The additional recommendations now lead management to believe that there is only
one sanctioned way of using XML. When you start stacking them end to end, the net
effect is to make management feel as though they're being lead by IT into a very
narrow band of technology. It isn't proprietary, but it shares some of the same
constricting effects. This may well be enough to convince managers to sit on
their hands rather than embark on something so overwhelming that may require
substantial retraining of staff.

It seems that more attention is being paid to technological cleverness and
cradle-to-grave information definitions than overall usability and marketability.
While this approach might serve the W3C well, it may actually be damaging to the
marketplace. The same recommendations that might [1] provide solutions for big
problems may also be making it more difficult to convince customers to solve
simple problems. The "all or nothing" mindset is one of the things that XML was
supposed to thwart, but now XML seems to be perceived as a component of a package

[1]  I simply don't believe that everyone uses all of the available
recommendations every time the opportunity arises - I know that I don't. To do so
would be indulgent and expensive unless there is a clear short- or long-term
advantage. All the same, a manager may feel that you're proposing half a solution
if you don't try to sell them the works (as the IT department see it).


Marcus Carr                      email:  mcarr@allette.com.au
Allette Systems (Australia)      www:    http://www.allette.com.au
"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."
       - Einstein


News | XML in Industry | Calendar | XML Registry
Marketplace | Resources | MyXML.org | Sponsors | Privacy Statement

Copyright 2001 XML.org. This site is hosted by OASIS