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I think you are playing semantic games. Arbortext cut
its teeth on markup and markup-based editing. The fact
of standards is relevant but also apples and oranges.
ODA was a 'standard' but not supported by Arbortext.
"Standards-based" is by and large another pop culture
phenomenon. There are good reasons to use standards,
but buying 'standards' is a phase in our culture because
for the most part, no one can tell us what those are
other than 'lots of products can do this' and that
makes them hugely irrelevant to the buy.
We don't differ on the product lifecycle management
company issue. At ten years, many here start at the end of
the CALS consultancy bonanza. It produced most of the
thinking that became product lifecycle management as
it migrated away from military logistics (the ultimate
in product lifecycle management) toward Commerce At
Light Speed (the nadir of PLM but the beginnings of legitimizing
markup as a message format for business transactions).
CAD systems and CASE systems thinking were merging
in the beginning but the graphicsAreNeverSGML gurus
made it impossible for that thinking to survive in
the original community. The markup technologists
who start with HTML and are essentially fourth generation
markup technologists didn't have to contend with that.
Unlike some original stars such as Datalogics, Arbortext
navigated these changes and stayed at the top of their
game. People like Paul Grosso were quick to recognize
the importance of the web and eager to get markup in
full form in place. While the FOSI was kept alive, it
was sidelined. While Hytime had the jewels, it was
burgled and pilloried. Such are the fortunes of
technical competition. Eventually, the good ideas from
the overbuilt systems reemerge in different and usually
simpler forms and the march to complexity starts anew.
The shift to messaging does affect companies that have
based their product lines on documentation by making them
mostly irrelevant as specialties. Once markup became a
mainstream technology because of messaging applications
two things become clear:
1) With the exception of HTML, most of the markup
document technologies exist in niches. For all its
ugliness, WYSIWYG systems such as Word doc files still
dominate there. Recasting into PLM is useful and a
good niche, but not nearly as successful as relational
systems for the same purpose. Taking a WYSIWYG object
model and streaming out markup is far easier than taking
a markup design and going in the opposite direction. So
once understood, the WYSIWYGers markup-enable and that
takes most of the steam out of the pure markup plays.
2. The focus on messaging reveals that the complexities
of the work-intensive systems based on FOSI are YAGNI. They
were tough to begin with and didn't get much easier.
Systems that take messages and spit out HTML are easier
to build, easier to maintain, and good-enough-if-worse.
I don't see a lot of enterprises interested in buying
pubs systems for their markup. They buy them for their
ability to integrate. That is made much simpler by buying
systems where pubs are simply part of the overall suite
of products. That is why the mainstreaming of HTML has
made the markup pubs companies obsolete. Most of what
is needed can be gotten from the Office suites. The
rest is a different job done by different people.
XML won, so Arbortext has to merge or die. That is how
business evolution works. When a technology mainstreams,
it becomes the business of the larger and therefore more
diverse companies. That is the price of success; selling
the secret sauce recipes to the buyers with the deep pockets.
From: Paul Prescod [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Bullard, Claude L (Len) wrote:
> It is a market that is following the technical
> reality that XML is plumbing for the operating
> system frameworks that expose browsers as a
> dominant GUI metaphor. Markup applications
> as standalone systems are increasingly sidelined
> given the shift from markup for documents to
> markup for messages.
I don't believe that Arbortext sells markup applications. I think that
they sell a standards-based authoring and publishing platform. That's
what their website says and when I've spoken with their customers they
seem to agree.
A product lifecycle management company bought a complex technical
documentation company. That makes sense to me. As you say: XML is
plumbing (precisely: a technical means to a business end) and I think
that both the purchaser and the purchasee understood that.
I don't believe that this has anything whatsoever to do a "the shift
from markup for documents to markup for messages". There is no such
shift. Yes, XML's center of gravity has shifted but that is irrelevant.
Did the "shift" towards the use of the World Wide Web (an application of
the Internet) hurt the popularity of email (another application of the
Internet?). Does the shift towards VOIP sideline BitTorrent? Apples and