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Re: XML marketing contributions

From: Todd Freter <Todd.Freter@Eng.Sun.COM>
Date: Mon, 10 Feb 1997 10:38:00 -0800 (PST)
To: w3c-sgml-wg@w3.org, Liora Alschuler <Liora@the-word-electric.com>
cc: Jon Bosak <bosak@atlantic-83.Eng.Sun.COM>
Message-ID: <Roam.SIMC.2.0.Beta.855599880.32648.toddf@jurassic>
Liora et al.,

These phrases and slogans about XML, big sisters, "link-global-code-local,"
and Java's molars are enjoyable, but to me they are either metaphorical and
thus confusing or technical and thus limited. As one of Jon Bosak's
co-workers, I just saw him give a major, half-day presentation about XML at
Sun. After hearing the presentation, it's clear to me that XML is more
effectively marketed as a solution to the problems it was designed to solve
than as a triumph of technical specification. That is, XML provides a
standard, vendor-free framework for Web applications in which information
knows about itself and, potentially, about its consumers. (That last picks up
from a quotation that Jon used in his presentation.)

Few if any SGML adherents will fail to understand the value of XML, and XML
needs only to be explained, not marketed, to them. That's the XML as SGML--
paradigm. HTML users, the self-taught WH folks whom Peter Murray-Rust
mentions, need to understand how XML lets them create robust information
management applications beyond simple browsing. That's the XML as HTML++
paradigm. Long ago Len Bullard correctly reminded the WG that XML will be seen
as competition for HTML even though that wasn't mentioned in any of the
official XML documents as a goal.

So if this group is interested in marketing XML, which is a valid and
legitimate goal beyond describing and specifying XML, it should focus on XML's
value to content providers. This group is describing and specifying XML with
the precision, concern, and skill (not to mention the quantity ...) that I see
because of content providers who want to deliver rich, self-aware, and
functional information to consumers without having to reprogram a bazillion
times for different flavors of networked platforms. "I just delivered eight
patients' hospital records to eight different approved home healthcare
agencies with drag and drop on the Web. Can your HTML do that?"

I'm a big believer in solutions marketing, not technology marketing. People
won't want XML because it's cool, which it is, but because it's effective.

Todd Freter
Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Received on Monday, 10 February 1997 13:37:35 UTC

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