• Subject: Re: using XML to build web pages
  • From: "Roger Pence" <rp@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 29 Nov 1999 10:28:08 -0500

> I have considered all of that, plus the capability to define multiple
> stylesheets so the customer can choose the style they want to view it in.
All nice
> things. What I fail to see is a way to make it happen...

Joe-

I think you're thinking too hard. As XML emerges, there will be Document
Type Declaration (DTD) specs that outline the rules for a given XML
document. Given that XML document, and its DTD, any XML compliant engine
would be able to consume the data from the XML document. Unlike HTML, which
only presents data (HTML is a display file), XML also defines the data (XML
is a display file, a field reference file and an underlying table, all in
one).

A good place to look at interesting XML work right now is the program call
wizard in the AS/400 Java Toolbox. This wizard uses Program Call Markup
Language, which is driven by an XML engine, to define a program call to
Java.

XML, like Java, is emerging and not quite here yet. Also, like Java, the
cynic in me says that XML isn't quite going to change the world the way a
lot of people have been saying it is. After all, to change the world, you
have to agree on what change would be good for the world. And what two
standards bodies could ever do that! XML's emergence over existing (and
rather crummy) standards such as EDI may well be in the offing, but you have
_plenty_ of time to put the necessary skills under your belt before your
job's in jeopardy.

I'd worry more about building a strong database. Does the CEO who wants you
get on the XML bandwagon understand the importance of database that can
police itself and be appropriately served by XML? As you move to XML-type
externalization of your data, you can't rely on the typical processes you're
currently using to ensure data validation and correctness. Triggers, RI and
check constraints are a much bigger deal to the average AS/400 shop today
than fretting over the issue of how to serve up XML. Yet not 1 out 10 AS/400
shops have even gotten close to really building a good database. In the
world of the Web, it won't be enough to use your AS/400 as a record server!

Tell the executive airplane-magazine-reading, ComputerWorld-scanning,
Sharper Image-ordering, Doc Marten-wearing,  Rubik's Cube-solving,
Y2K-frettist,  wannabee-geeks to shut up and mind their own bidness. You've
got real work to do!

rp



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