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Re: XML As Fall Guy

For the record, the reference to the Japanese submarine was to point out that although the submarines of the West were good designs for the mission of ship hunters, that mission focus limited the evolution of the form in ways that precluded other missions. Further, it was the combination of inventions that led to the next generation of vehicles. Just as with aircraft, it took the inventions in engines, controls and navigation from separate sources to enable the innovation that is commercial aircraft, it took the separate inventions of nuclear power, missile guidance and large self-sustained underwater craft with the invention of the dry dock shelter to enable the emergence of the class of modern submarine weapons platforms.

XML has been part of several different innovations in web technology. Different more mission focused technologies such as JSON have stepped into parts of that information ecosystem but none yet do all of these well or at all. We seem to have arrived at a time I once said would be when we would know markup had won and that is when we no longer noticed itm just as today you don't notice the wing elevator flaps that were the last piece of the system that is now modern aviation.

I do agree with Hans that professionals understand certain basic principles of their craft and by these are known to be reliable (see the emergence of freemasons for a comparative emergence and recognition by shiboleths). I daily see cases where the tools supplant the design leading to frustration and failure of mission or mission creep. As I said, the body blow to XML is not of XML's making: it was Microsoft's failure to provide a document-centric XML editor and consigning it to Visual Studio as a coding language. This was critical in bifurcating the ecosystem of enterprise tools. By focusing their enterprise development on meta-data driven file management (aka, Sharepoint), they lost the piece that increased the *quality* of information and traded it for the slickness of graphics design over basic file system interface.

While XML made recede in the bits on the wire applications given the strengths of JSON and its fitness and form for this, the functional aspects of document authoring and life cycle management are still better served by XML. And it is here that there is plenty of room for invention to presage innovation.

The web is still a mail carrier, not a document production environment. By focusing on REST, the power of linking is realized but the rest of the environment suffers a lack of discipline and attention to design.


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