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   Re: [xml-dev] [SUMMARY #1] Why is there little usage of XML on the'visib

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  • To: "Costello,Roger L." <costello@mitre.org>, XML Developers List <xml-dev@lists.xml.org>
  • Subject: Re: [xml-dev] [SUMMARY #1] Why is there little usage of XML on the'visible Web'?
  • From: Winchel 'Todd' Vincent III <winchel@mindspring.com>
  • Date: Fri, 21 Jul 2006 16:49:42 -0400 (EDT)
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  • Reply-to: Winchel 'Todd' Vincent III <winchel@mindspring.com>

Sorry to get in on this thread late, but reading the list (which is very interesting), I think there are a few angles that may not have been considered (I have not read all the posts on this thread):
1. If browsers supported XML + CSS well, consistently, robustly, then you might see more XML on the web (but see #2).  Browers support (x)HTML, so the web gets XML + XSLT = (x)HTML.  This is less about XML and more about what browsers support.
2. There is another "web" between the "visible web" and the "hidden web," as you have defined those terms, that is the "password-protected web" -- a land that lies somewhere in the middle.  XML-coded information is, as you note, valuable.  Because of this value, your assertion #4 advocates publishing more XML on the web.  This is a nice thought, but not a practical business reality.  XML published on the web is valuable not only to the "web community" it is also valuable to the competitor(s) of the person/entity that expended the time and resources to collect the information and encode it in XML.  As a result, a business person is very cautious about what and how he/she puts information on the "visible web."  The business person is less cautious about what he/she puts on the "password protected web", because he/she can regulate access and profit from the investment in time and resources.  The technical and business communities have little respect/knowledge of legal rights to intellectual property.  The result is that people have to protect their investment by hiding it.
3. The distinction made between "visible web" and "hidden web" seems to be made based on "human" versus "machine" consumption.  This distinction may be misplaed when one considers that XML over HTTP (without "web services") and web services (i.e., SOAP XML + XML over HTTP) can be delivered to a desktop application for human consumption.  Yes, the XML goes through an application/machine, but what is a browswer -- it is an application/machine as well.  XML over HTTP allows a developer to break away from the web browser, which provides consistency, speed, and control that a browser does not provide.  XML over HTTP allows one to avoid the browser and communicate with a desktop application that, in my view, makes human consumption much better/easier.
4. When you say "web community" it makes me think of the early web with content populated mainly by academics, members of the IETF and thereafter the early W3C members.  That web community is now a minority on the web.
I hope these comments are helpful to you,
Winchel "Todd" Vincent III
<xmlLegal> http://www.xmllegal.org/
Phone : 404.822.4668
Fax     : 770.216.1633
Email : Todd.Vincent@xmllegal.org
-----Original Message-----
From: "Costello, Roger L." <COSTELLO@MITRE.ORG>
Sent: Jul 21, 2006 4:00 PM
To: XML Developers List
Subject: [xml-dev] [SUMMARY #1] Why is there little usage of XML on the 'visible Web'?

Hi Folks,
Once again, many thanks for your outstanding comments.  Below I have tried to recap the core assertions.  I am sure that many of the assertions could be worded better or more precisely.  Please let me know.  And as always, I welcome your critique of the assertions.  /Roger

There is little usage of XML on the visible Web That is, the information available to the end user (or his/her browser) is primarily in the form of (X)HTML, not XML.


XML is not appropriate for the visible Web.  XML will continue to have limited usage on the visible Web.  As Len Bullard says, XML is plumbing


On the visible Web(X)HTML will continue to be the primary markup language for the foreseeable future. 


The more a resource makes available its information (in an appropriate way) on the visible Web, the more useful and beneficial it becomes to the Web community. 


Web services are part of the hidden Web, and are useful and beneficial to the Web community only to the extent they are able to contribute or facilitate the availability of information in an appropriate fashion to the visible Web. 


Focus your main efforts on making information available on the visible Web in an appropriate fashion such that the benefits of doing so are maximized, and without introducing a detrimental impact.

I gratefully acknowledge the outstanding comments from the following people:
Bryan Rasmussen
Chris Gray
Colin Muller
Dave Pawson
David Lyon
Derek Denny-Brown
Didier PH Martin
Doug Rudder
Elliotte Rusty Harold
Greg Alvord
Jim Fuller
Juan Gonzalez
Len Bullard
Michael Kay
Mukul Gandhi
Richard Salz
Sterling Stouden
Tei Oscar Vives

The visible Web is the portion of the Web that produces information intended for human consumption.  In particular, this document focuses on the portion of the Web that produces information to be consumed by humans via a browser.  The visible Web is the portion of the Web that produces information that is available to search engines.


The hidden Web, on the other hand, is the portion of the Web that produces the information intended to be consumed by machines (i.e., machine-to-machine interaction).


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