Selling XML

I have a consulting practice.  When I'm not programming, I mostly
go around explaining the differences between SGML and HTML and PDF
and VRML and Shockwave and RTF and Java and yadda yadda yadda.
Almost everyone I consult for is doing electronic publishing and
is scrambling to get their stuff up via web technology, and at
the same time, have some kind of a sane authoring and management
environment.  One of my primary pieces of advice is that you should
never author HTML when you can generate it from something else, and 
*never* put it in a repository.

I have always explained all the benefits of SGML (ISO, 
vendor-independent, platform-independent, content not presentation,
you know the drill).  When I do that, I almost always get the 
Sounds Good Maybe Later response: "SGML is this great big 
complicated technology and we're going to have to hire consultants 
and buy huge expensive pieces of software and it won't work with the 
Web."  I sometimes feel that that the SGML community is unaware how 
prevalent this mind-set is.  I've always argued against this, but
have felt to some degree like I'm swimming up-hill.

Lately, I have also been explaining that there is an SGML starter-kit 
called XML, which is small, lightweight (I wave a printout of
the draft spec at them), easy to understand, and designed to work on 
the web.  But you still get data safety and constrained-authoring 
because it's SGML.  

The next question is, "where can I buy the software?".  It's the
second easiest technology sale of my career (the easiest was the
initial manic wave of blind-faith WWW adoptions based on a 
3-minute Mosaic demo).

So anyhow, assuming we come out of Boston with decent consensus
and a couple of vendors start climbing on board, I think we're
really onto something here.

In preparation, I've started working on introductory material and
a FAQ and so on, which may be previewed at:

Feedback, and general thoughts as to how and where we should spin
XML in the marketpace, are solicited.

Cheers, Tim Bray +1-604-488-1167

Received on Tuesday, 12 November 1996 15:04:49 UTC