Re: Back to basics

Jon Bosak wrote:
> In my vision of a transition to SGML on the Web, two things occur to
> make SGML browser capability ubiquitous:
> 1. Entrepreneurial ISVs are enabled to try their luck in a new market
> by developing XML applications, i.e., applications that can consume an
> SGML that has been made much easier to implement.  These applications
> could be browsers or they could be special-purpose applets.  I think
> that this is what Len means when he speaks of another house to burgle.

Yes.  It just doesn't work in a 5 second sound byte.
> 2. One or more of the big and soon-to-be-big browser vendors
> (Netscape, Microsoft, Spyglass, JavaSoft) are encouraged to build XML
> support into their standard HTML offerings.

Yes.  But the market has to make it necessary.  The market won't 
unless the content developers do.  They won't unless they have 
tools or see it as "the next cool thang".  In any event, 
it's a chicken and the egg.  To break the circle, you need 
either vendors or college students.  College students with 
encouragement from the federal government or enlightened 
professors have been the traditional engine of the internet.

OTH, the guys in DoD are sitting on massive lumps of SGML
data that they would like to move onto the net in some 
cases, or into interoperable IETMs in others.  Because 
the creme de la creme of SGML is here, we all know of 
a few projects that could use cheaper tools.  The barrier 
to SGML is not how hard it is to implement, it is the cost 
of obtaining the implemented tools and that 
everytime someone tried to do this in the past, members of 
our own community stifled the attempts.
> I do believe that
> our job will be much easier if we can persuade one of the HTML browser
> vendors to choose XML for their next forward leap in functionality
> rather than choosing something that they invent on their own.

True.  But go forward with or without them.  Otherwise we repeat
the same mistake we have always made.  We assume the market must 
exist before the work is done and the market assumes the work 
must exist.  All we are investing right now is our time.

> I suspect that people will have different opinions on this last point,
> but I don't think that it really matters for purposes of the current
> effort; as far as I can tell, the simplification that makes XML
> attainable for the independent developer is exactly the simplification
> that allows us to make a reasonable case for its adoption by the big
> guys.

Exactly.  Just remember, the big guys are the former little guys.
They are building up legacy code just as some of our companies did.
They become dinosaurs and we become little big eyed mammals coming 
out at night to eat eggs.

This is like gigging in an indy band:  they don't come to you.
You make the opportunity.  It takes brains and bravery, and just 
a bit of chutzpah.