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Anyone who thought about the claims that XML would revolutionize search engines for more than 10 minutes would have realized how unjustified those claims were. The MetaCrap essay is an excellent summary of the exactly why such thinking was folly. If there is anything to learn from that undelivered promise it isn't your points (1) and (2) below but that technological solutions that depend significantly on [excessive] human intervention to create automated processes are doomed to failure.
One end of the spectrum is the package tracking system used by UPS which although significantly dependent on human intervention to work (packages must be scanned at every stop) do not alter the shipping process significantly since package handlers merely have to scan the boxes they are moving. The other end of the spectrum are things like RDF and the "semantic search engine markup" which require significantly altering application processes while needing agreement from dozens of distinct entities even after making these alterations.
From: Jonathan Borden [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Sun 11/10/2002 8:43 PM
Cc: Mike Champion
Subject: [xml-dev] Sauterne was: Re: [xml-dev] XML/RDF
Mike Champion wrote:
There's some Semantic Web stuff I find very intriguing, e.g. applying
WebOnt to SNOMED, or the Canegie-Mellon stuff on scheduling
(http://www.sys-con.com/xml/article.cfm?id=529). Then again, they're
applying RDF to well-understood, localized domains.
Sortof like SOAP-RPC -- a reasonable solution
to a limited domain problems, but my hackles go up go up when
people start talking about it as the Next Big Thing. I guess it really
*is* the hype that bothers me ... and there's something about hype
that just gets under my skin and makes me want to debunk it rather
than doing something more productive with my time ...
Yeah well I remember when XML first came out and it was promised to
revolutionize search engines by allowing web pages to be classified
according to 'semantic markup' ... never happened. Two lessions:
1) if a technology delivers 10% of what is hyped, that is generally a great
2) some of us are still working on that initial promise, and progress is
being made, albeit slowly http://www.w3.org/TR/owl-guide/
I'd like to think that the Semantic Web is what SGML on the Web was always
supposed to be ... now unfortunately at this early stage it's terribly
(almost not at all) integrated with XML in general but that's a different
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