RE: What is XML For?
Where I sit, it's going like this. More RFPs and RFIs cite XML and that's it. Ok. We can do that. It's worthless but doable. XMLtoCursor to File. A few are starting to notice the Federal Draft standards for XML Developers. That's generally good. It means that some decisions are already made for naming, etc. Still, it won't get them out of using our version of the output. In a few rare instances, there are real schemas. Most I've seen are tied to the Legal XML work. This is good stuff but tied more to court systems and interstate rap sheets. Because data flows down to the RMS from multiple pipes (NCIC, NLETS, dispatch systems, street walk ins, etc), we still have to maintain our own internal representation and schema. I've seen one brilliant bit and that one came from the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department. This one has an example Incident Report in XML plus an XSLT stylesheet for transforming it into an interactive form. This is great stuff. We can take it and run and show it to other customers as an example of how to do it. We map to it and move on. The dull news is that as usual, each of these groups will work independently and we will face a plethora of similar but slightly incompatible schemas. Then XSLT becomes the tool of choice. As usual, there will be semantic incompatibilities. Negotiation is the word. However, overall, the problem is not as bad as the usual report exports we have to generate for every job we do. So the story for relational records management systems is a good one because we don't change our schemas or our internal representation. We map and do a bit of customization. No matter how I look at that, XML improves the situation because as I've said before, the way of XML is almost more important than the actual technology. It provides for a public human readable representation and tends toward some convergence where enough systems have task and conceptual overlaps. Best practices help and OASIS, NIST, etc. are pushing these. len From: Paul Prescod [mailto:paul@p...] Mark Seaborne wrote: >... > Unfortunately, some organisations appear to be taking > the position that because XML is now usable in every > tool under the sun, that not only should it be used > everywhere, but it can be used everywhere as is. > So, at least where I work, I get the distinct > impression (hopefully false) that organisations are > actually wanting the data interchange format to be > what they build new back end systems over, so they > don't have to do bother with any transformation. I agree that this is a problem. That's why I stress that the XML is a data representation and not, in general, the implementation's internal data model. Paul Prescod
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