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Re: [xml-dev] Re: XML As Fall Guy

On Mon, Dec 2, 2013 at 12:17 AM, Ihe Onwuka <ihe.onwuka@gmail.com> wrote:

Things would be alot better if companies had incentivised universities to teach things like Systems Theory and the History of Computing instead of Java. With the marginalisation of older IT workers we are approaching a time when it will be common to encounter enterprises whose resources have never known anything other than OO/RDBMS development so things like MarkLogic will continue to be seen as weird. Back in the day  the diversity of expertise under one roof meant there was a counterbalance to a clients tendency to self medicate or be to prescriptive about a solution. Whereas today if you go to a consulting firm like Thoughtworks the type of solution you will likely emerge with will be quite narrowly constrained.

Awww shucks .......the reference to Thoughtworks wasn't plucked for thin air.

We've all heard of their Chief Scientist - Martin Fowler. Some years ago Fowler wrote an article titled Moving Away from XSLT.


where he surmised "My conclusion from this exercise was that using Ruby for XML transforms was much easier than using XSLT."

Looking at the date of the article it's likely he was talking about the 1.0 incarnation but as we all know the language has moved on considerably. I looked to see if I could find trace of Martin updating his views but all I came across was this


Fowler also wrote a book NOSql Distilled which devoted all of a single paragraph in the final chapter to XML.

Now take your typical organisation that deals in lots of XML and whose software practices aren't the best so they decide to bring in Thoughtworks. Based on this anecdotal, circumstantial evidence what sort of solution do you think Thoughtworks are going to come up with?

Well I was in such a place - they had lots of XSLT cut and pasted all over the place to do validation  on the XML and the Thoughtworks consultants spent lots of time in their room with their whiteboards and stickys. They gave a few talks on things and I started seeing books on CI floating around and the client got told to do TDD. Everything they did was related to the .Net codebase. There were two of us doing the XSLT - they couldn't have had a clue what we were doing because they never talked to either of us in all the weeks they were there. Soon after Thoughtworks left we  had to firefight a problem caused because  an XML Schema published to a client had undergone lots of changes and was now rejecting documents the client had sent that were conformant to the schema we had published. Not long before Thoughtworks had given a talk on version control - no mention of XML schemas.

I'm sure Thoughtworks are very very good at what they do. No further comment.

I also reckon  that when you hire a consulting firm you are also often subconsciously hiring a set of unstated, undeclared biases.

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