Re: Microsoft bases two proposals on XML

Christopher R. Maden wrote:
> Thanks for the public URL, Harvey!
> I noticed some problems with MS's examples.  They use net-enabled
> start-tags in a couple of places (like the ITEM example), they don't
> use XML declarations, and they don't quote all attribute values.
> Other than that, it's nice to see XML being used, whatever _le Monde
> Informatique_ may think of it.

Monday morning quarterbackSpeak:

Folks shouldn't get overly annoyed with the press release blizzard.
There will be a period of obscure thinking and propaganda while 
competitors try to get the edge on implementation and mindshare.  
The only losers will be the ones who ignore it and pretend it 
will go away.  There will be a desperate attempt to dismiss it, 
call it names, brand it as proprietary, all the usual marketing 
schtick.  We know that for those who value information lifecycle, 
XML is a proven and natural solution.  It is robust and resists 
platform obsolescence.

Getting the market requires:

1.  Firm up the spec.  Duh.
2.  Get a lot of little terribly useful cheap apps out there.
3.  Get authoring support in place as fast as possible.

They don't have to be perfect the first time.  They have to be 
useful.  Utility to the content provider must be the first 
order of business.  Content rules. 

It is useful to remember that encapsulation and 
"a person is a king in their own home" are 
the same psychological concept.  The competition will try to 
sell the idea of uniformity ("standards are key"), but the 
key to competitive advantage for the content provider is 
standard differentiation ("tastes great AND less filling").  XML returns 
control back to the person smart enough and fast enough to use it, 
and it provides a way to differentiate themselves and their 
information.  It is also useful to remember that SGML was the 
middle ground between programmers and authors.  It is just 
rigorous enough to make a program happy, and just simple enough 
that the average bear can do it.  Don't try to sell this 
to programmers.  Sell it to the content sources, particularly 
those who manage content.

At the same time, large organizations have to control differentiation 
to ensure smooth communication.  Don't undersell the DTD.  It is a 
*negotiable contract* and that is a term a businessman understands.  To
of them, well-formed means "laissez-faire" and they reserve that 
advantage to themselves, not their employees.