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   Re: [xml-dev] Note from the Troll

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10/27/2002 6:49:56 AM, tblanchard@mac.com wrote:

I *can* understand why the snake oil, complexity, etc. drives
people who have the XML hype shoved down their throats to live under bridges
and yell at XML perpetrators who pass by :-)  On the other hand ...

>6) From the stand point of business process and enterprise architecture 
>- XML is an evolutionary step backwards.  Hierarchical databases were 
>abandoned for relational models long ago 

Snake oil is snake oil, whether it comes from Mr. Ballmer selling
us on XML or Mr. Ellison selling us on RDBMS. Don't confuse the
loss of *mindhshare* by hierarchical DBMSs with "abandonment" in
the real world.  IMS, the meanest, ugliest of the 1960's hierarchical
DBs is still used by 90% of the Fortune 500 to manage something like 15 
million terabytes of the world's transactional data for
200 million users (including most of us, I suspect).

> gave way to more centralized object model 
>architectures because centralization of business logic is more 
>manageable.  Model View Controller architectures were created 
>explicitly to move the processing knowledge closer to the center.  XML 
>"transformations" puts us right back into the same position we were in 
>when all the business rules were encoded in the UI and batch scripts.  
>It disperses knowledge without any underlying organizing principle 
>other than "a bunch of files".

XML is getting the mindshare it does today -- and the snakeoil sellers
are not being laughed out of town by the citizenry -- because the
"centralization of business logic" and MVC architectures hit their
scalability limits a few years ago.  Once you have to deal with
your supply chain in real time, your customers expect you to
be available over the Web 24/7, and a lot of historically separate 
systems and organizations are forced to present a unified face to
the outside, then a lot of the manageable, centralized
business logic has to be abstracted away.  I'd assert that XML is
exciting because it allows a happy medium between centralized business
logic and the "bunch of files" containing HTML, Javascript, Perl, etc. 
that were the initial attempt to leverage the Web's scalability to
when the centralized model's scalability limits were hit.

This doesn't mean that centralized object models and RDBMSs
are "wrong" any more than  "pre-relational" DBMS such as IMS and Adabas 
are wrong for the problems they have been solving effectively for
decades.  The hard core of XML (ignoring various abominations) is used
to solve problems of integration and interoperability across time, space,
and platforms that it is well suited for. 

The biggest challenge is to better understand what all these technologies
are best for, how to use the best technology for the problem at hand
rather than jumping from one snake oil salesman to another every 5-10 years,
and to get all these things working together.   Once the snake oil salesman
have been run out of town, the "second system syndrome" efforts have been
put out of their misery, and the points that David Megginson 
makes in http://lists.xml.org/archives/xml-dev/200210/msg01518.html
are widely appreciated, I think XML has a lot to offer in this synthesis.


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