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Re: [xml-dev] XML's place in the world

Michael Kay wrote:
>> My general sense - and this doubtless has a lot of 
>> confirmation bias to it - is that XML is retreating to the 
>> document-based home territory where it made the most sense 
>> anyway.  JSON is easing it off the Web.
> I think you're using the term "the Web" to mean "the edges of the web" -
> i.e. pretty well the "last hop" to the browser. I think that's an
> unfortunate usage, but so long as we know what you mean, I guess we have to
> live with it. 

It may not be _your_ usage, but that 'last hop' is at least historically 
where XML aimed to go, so I have no qualms in applying it to the XML 

> Anyway, from the rest of your message, you actually seem to be
> saying "retreating to document processing and data interchange", which I
> have always thought were the two core areas for application of XML, so I'm
> not sure I see that as a retreat.  

Fair enough.  I do see it as a retreat from a lot of the XML database 
claims pushed in roughly 2000-2005, because...

> But data interchange is pretty fundamental to an awful lot of applications,
> and if XML is used for interchange, then it tends to pervade the whole
> application.

My point here is that I'm seeing less and less interest in that 
pervasiveness.  There was a time when more people said "I'm exchanging 
lots of this XML stuff, and maybe I should just store the XML stuff and 
work with it that way."

Lately, the conversation seems to be more "I need to maintain this 
information in a form that lets me scale processing and storage 
efficiently", and XML fares less well in that conversation.

For information that needs to be stored and processed as 
hierarchically-structured and sort of linear documents, it does well, 
but for other purposes it makes sense only as an interchange format, 
created and consumed at gateways to systems which think in terms other 
than XML.

> And as always, I'm very suspicious of statements that claim to be
> quantitative assessments of industry trends but are actually based on
> nothing more than the volume of noise made by the chattering classes. That
> simply isn't a good enough metric.

Ah - "the chattering classes".  That's almost as useful a phrase as 
"politically incorrect" for avoiding engagement.  And in data-poor 
fields, like this one, it pretty much lets you believe whatever you'd 
prefer to believe.

I could offer book sales data, in which XML book sales have plunged well 
below the fall of the rest of the market, but I suspect that's not very 
interesting as it effectively measures the volume of chatter people are 
willing to pay for...

Simon St.Laurent

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