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RE: [xml-dev] 2007 Predictions



Or maybe that is all geek good wishes for themselves for the upcoming year.  Maybe the best thing that can happen to XML this year is that it disappear.


1)       Very little of importance to the web at large happened in the XML domain in 2006.  All of the things you list are things geeks care about, but the geeks are no longer what the web is about.   They are the last people on anyone’s minds.  No longer sexy and easily outsourced so to the private equity economy, just commodities to be priced down.

2)       All of the important events on the web have been about people using it to do more things they need to do or want to do.   See YouTube.  XML or Flash?  All of these are things they can do using systems that hide geekery from them.   2006 is the year that the déjà vu term, MAC86, because the haunting reminder of why some platforms sell and others just get by.


The web and XML have largely accomplished two things:


1)       Created the largest mass migration of wealth based on intellectual property up from the hands of independent content authors into the hands of a very few very large corporations with buy-outs or pay-offs for the few geeks who made that happen.

2)       Made it possible for 24x7x365 surveillance of digital communications to become a reality.


The rewriting of history bits are the jetsam of a market-driven economy.  Hero making and catfights are what Hollywood does to brand product and the web is glomming on to that too.  See Chung vs The Aussie Press.


At some point, that has to give.   AdSense doesn’t pay well enough and iTunes is just the BadOldMoguls of the music biz made over into the figure of Steve Jobs.


So where do the authors go?   They go to any outlet that makes a better deal on the points and the fact of its ‘common standard platform’ means less than nothing to that deal.   Second Life proves it:  a proprietary browser (open source is irrelevant where all of the content is kept and protected by the server) with easy to use in-world building tools.    The big new thing:  iPhone.  One vendor and one service provider:  price to be ensnared, $500 USD and a lot of people rushing to buy.   Batteries?  You buy those from Jobs too, yes?


3D Standards:  you have exactly one, X3D and most of you can’t use it and if you could, most of you suck at graphics which is why so many 3D luddites owe their lives to the XML industry where documents and databases rule.   And X3D, ahem, VRML, doesn’t need pointy.  It’s just useful because of storing metatags inline and using XSLT to get the data out for … yawn… HTML.  Not XHTML.  Plain Old Tags.    There are a lot of applications like that where XML, in fact text-heavy processing, just gets in the way.  And many of them are the sexiest apps on OR off the web.


So if you are someone who just needs to make a wow product product that engages and enthralls, in short kicks ass, do you want to suffer through the never ending browser wars, the histrionics of the RestaFarians, the mind numbing brain-screwing finger-frikkin XML politics to build high cost one off presentations that take all of your company’s resources just to keep up with the changes from the platform vendors as they screw with each other to see who has the biggest.. coffee stain?


I don’t think so.   I think they start looking for focused applications that just work on the web and still work on a CD-ROM to sell at Wal-Mart where they can still get 10 to 15% reliably for every unit sold.


The HTML Pig is the big scary fuzzy ambassador of the Frictionless economy.  What do we get from a frictionless economy?  What do you get in jail after the big guy lubes you up for his own pleasure?






-----Original Message-----
From: Kurt Cagle [mailto:kurt.cagle@gmail.com]
Sent: Saturday, January 13, 2007 3:09 PM
To: Len Bullard
Cc: XML Developers List
Subject: Re: [xml-dev] 2007 Predictions



I'll disagree with you on this one:


2007 is the year that the HTML/CSS browser as the ultimate wrapper for web
content begins to see serious competition from standalone applications where
market revenue recognition predictions are impacted by the complexities of
relying on plug-ins.  The WHATWG vs W3C shootouts indicate that the constant
massaging of the HTML frameworks to get small competitive advantages from
loss-leaders affects the emergence of other markets in the plugins that do
not actually need other than standard network support.  In short, the HTML
browser is finally seen as the market pig that it is.

I think the "HTML" browser is definitely creaky, but I think the mixed mode XHTML browser is also just
really coming online. Mozilla is making serious in-roads into the enterprise level now (at least from anecdotal
evidence, though I don't have formal numbers) and will likely continue to do so. Mozilla is also creating a
vacuum effect - its becoming the browser to emulate (or outdo) in terms of core technologies, and the Mozilla
implementation is quietly replacing the IE implementation as the canonical standard that's forcing other vendors
to create feature equivalents. This effect has already forced both Opera and Safari to migrate to an XML aware
architecture, and the continued churn in the AJAX world will likely end up pushing at least one of the stacks (as a
guess, I'd say DOJO) into a C++ implementation with JS exposure.

XAML, FLEX, OpenLaszlo, Boxely and other XML frameworks are opening up, and I think that the XML-based stand-alone apps MAY be on their way in, but I honestly don't see that market opening up appreciably until 2008 at the earliest. There is also still very much a deployment issue, and the fact that people are increasingly spending more and more time within the browser context that will be a strong inertial factor to overcome.

My own feeling is that the XML client binding framework likely will be one of THE key XML stories of 200, the others being XQuery and XSLT2, the latter of which I expect to see some SERIOUS traction on. I talked recently with an IT Director for Lexus-Nexus, and he indicated that they are increasingly using XSLT not so much as a presentation layer generator but as a router, bypassing a lot of commercial tools to do so. I disagree with Jon Bosak on that one point ... I think that with the simplified transformations that XSLT2 opens up, and the consistent extensions mechanism, that XSLT will likely end up becoming much more commonly used as nodal routers evaluating XML business logic instead of specialized web services doing the same (especially since such XSLT actually works very nicely with a messaging queue). Make XSLT callable from within XQueries (see eXist for a wonderful implementation, especially with Saxon 8 doing duty as the transformer) makes for a considerably simpler yet more powerful web architecture than lots of code monkeys writing linear ASP/JSP scripts.

-- Kurt


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