RE: human interaction with XML
Hi Andrew, Andrew said: For the ordinary guy/guyess out there I suspect that invisible XML is the best XML. An interface that hides XML while at the same time allowing the benefits of XML to be achieved seems to me to offer, for the ordinary guy/guyess, the optimal exposure to XML. In other words no exposure to XML is the optimal exposure to XML. Didier replies: I personally think that there two kinds of customer for XML and it has always been the case for nay other type of data serialized or not. A) the end user B) the developers I agree with you that end users do not care much about XML as they actually care about the other kind of data formats. They have a task to do and the computer with its software is only a tool used to achieve a goal. On the other hand, for the IT departments who choused to use XML as a semi-structured/structure data integration tool, they are concerned with problems related to XML and the lack of useful tools going beyond the very basic level of parsing/transforming. We actually see a mix of XML based RPC marshaling formats (i.e. SOAP) and non marshaled formats (like some ebxml usages). More and more, we need to wake up the sleeping beauty hidden in the data bases and mix this data that with other information/knowledge stored mostly in file servers. As we slowly move from information based systems to knowledge based support system, XML as an aggregation/development tool becomes more present. I recently saw several intranet systems using client side XSLT transformations to aggregate content originating from different data sources. Some using XInclude even if that spec is limited since its beginning (I said that so many times that I became tired of repeating myself), others creating their own aggregation languages. What seem to be common though is the proliferation of xml based languages developed in consortia or inside corporations. I guess now that office is using xml based formats, XML usage will simply become more persuasive inside enterprises. My personal concerns actually are more about system architectures. I noticed that a lot of people are using XML as they used HTML. They still have an application server and the client is still perceived as a dumb terminal. The more clever seems to moved beyond that and see the client as an application device connected to data server producing XML documents. For instance, I saw an apps merging semi-structured information with relational database output both packaged in XML. These guys tremendously reduced their costs/system complexity and layers. They came back to a two layer system and removed the application server layer. But they still reduced their cost of ownership by having the application components stored on a server and the application/user interface built just in time based on the user profile/access rights. I agree with Simon, the real world out there evolved faster than XML dev it seems.... Time to go back to my cavern to work on real world problems. Cheers Didier PH Martin http://didier-martin.com
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