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   Re: [xml-dev] InfoPath, OpenOffice, XForms (Was: Low-end Office 1 1 won'

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In a message dated 14/04/2003 18:34:49 GMT Daylight Time, MDubinko@cardiff.com writes:

>InfoPath as a dynamic XML-enabled forms frontend for a whole raft of
>critical backend information handling processes based on XML Web Services.

I hope their strategy has more legs than just Web Services. Surprisingly few
are using WS technology beyond XML-over-http for "enterprise" services.

Which few? Isn't there money there?

>Thus when OpenOffice fully catches up MS will have moved the game on to a
>target. :) ... InfoPath.

I often wonder what the OO folks have planned.

Could be interesting. Maybe as an add on? I am not sure how capable the OOo SDK is.

It would be pretty
to make a nice GUI InfoPath-like application minus the vendor lock-in part.

Yes, quite possibly, but ... here the marketing nuances come into play ... the "value" to a business of XML-enabled forms lies not simply in the XML-enabled forms but in how well/easily there is integration with the backend. MS can play the uniquely good integration card. No?

If InfoPath is done correctly then MS could be well-placed to offer "better" ... and therefore more valuable ... integration.

>So InfoPath will be sold as a quantum leap above "plain old" Office

Well, a "quantum leap" is the physically smallest change possible, right?

If you believe that you probably believe that ducks quark! :)

Uche is right: Any investment made into deploying native InfoPath leads
to more lock-in.

Hm. I wonder if "jointly owned data" or "symbiotic relationship" doesn't sound better? <grin/>

> Customers hate that.

The key is what the customer gains to compensate for those aspects that they "hate". That's what a nuanced vendor-customer tension is about.

Many on this list are on the high-skill end of a diverse spectrum of users. For others the convenience/integration aspects will weight more heavily. For many such users to roughly paraphrase Mike's comment, they will have to operate at two to three levels of abstraction above what they are used to. To avoid doing that (and the costs of attempting that) many will, in my estimation, prefer to pay for convenience.

It will be interesting to
watch how the market plays out; just how much customers are willing to tolerate lock-in.

Sure. Vendor-customer tension is an interesting process.

>Second, it looks very much as if InfoPath and XForms will be fighting out a
>battle for a very important new space - the XML forms-derived data space.

Not much of a "battle" in the XForms 1.0 / InfoPath 2003 time frame.
see http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/wlg/3001

Why do you imagine there will be not much of a battle?

Because 72% of customers didn't follow a particular licensing scheme. I suspect that if you look at bums on seats that the number who did follow the new licensing scheme will be way higher than 28%. A company with 10,000 bums on seats may be only "1" customer.

Also, in your blog (is that what it is?) you indicate that there are many "free" implementations of XForms. But what functionality is available "free"? I am not knocking the free XForms implementations like X-Smiles but it will be a little time before they are widely used. [Aside: I like X-Smiles very much.]

Many XForms implementations seem to me to be targeted at proprietary applications which, while not identical to InfoPath, will be charged for and will be thick client/rich client. Is that wrong?

Aren't you hoping that Cardiff.com's Liquid Office ... based on XForms ... or whatever make money? As far as I am concerned it is ok that you do, but why not MS?

>XML-based forms looks to be a space to watch very closely.


But you could be biased. :)

Andrew Watt


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