• Subject: Re: XML Attributes
  • From: "Phil Hall" <hallp@xxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 18 Nov 2000 22:13:04 -0600

> Actually I don't.  I just hate it when all people talk is theory.  Theory
> only works in your head.

But EDI was 'theory' at some point. Did you hate EDI at that point too ? Or
is EDI a 'special' case for you ?

> Taking over the EDI world.  That's what all IT is
> about these days isn't it.  If you don't create the next Napster, you're a
> nobody.  So, instead of coming up with new ideas, you rebrand something
> existing as "Next Generation" and call it your own

Yes. I know what you mean. Someone recently took CGI (not theirs) and RPG
(again, not theirs) and stuck them together and rebranded it as something
called iRPG or eRPG or whatever. They even cashed in on this rebranding of
something existing and wrote a book about it.

But it's sometimes otherwise known as evolution.
And I'm all for that. Lot's of companies
have used similar implementations as XML, but they weren't XML, way before
the W3 XML standard (standard in the sense of how XML is constructed) came
to be. The good thing about the W3 maintaining the definition is that
companies no longer need to write their own proprietary replacement to
what they started out to do. In fact, by adopting to use XML, these
companies are halfway to enabling themselves to interact with other
companies that have adopted to use XML, much closer than companies that
choose to go their own way and invent their own interoperability protocol.
going their own way, both parties have to write yet more layers to convert
from their format to n-others.

This of course assumes that the companies which choose to utilise XML have
developers smart enough to go and see if DTD/Schema already exist for their
use, before coming up with their own definitions, and then if they do end up
creating their own, smart enough again to register the DTD/Schema with an
outside agency, so that they can point prospective business partners to this
'published' description.

> I parused the document.  Found it interesting that one point
> they try to use
> to say XML is better than X.12 is you can "read" it with your eyes easier.
> (they don't come right out and say it that way, but why else would they
> point that out).

What a shame. After reading it, that's all you came away with ?

Give the choice to a developer or either implement EDI (using either of the
EDI formats) or asking them to use XML, if performance was not a issue, 9
out of 10 owners said their cats preferred XML.

> It wouldnt at all be to their advantage that you use XML and possibly
> purchase their product or services?

In stark contrast to EDI developers who do all their work for free ?

> Example from me...
> Data from AS/400-->replicate to NT-->display on web with cold fusion.
> easy right?  How about this...
> Take order on internet with
> Cold fusion-->replicate to AS/400-->bill order.
> Easy right?  Pffffft...  Those --> contain about 10k lines of
> code and rules that haven't even emerged yet.
> Ya, it's just "that easy".

The example is too vague. Why you would use ColdFusion ?, what method of
replication are we to choose, etc. But I think I understand your point, but
no matter what you choose to implement, you will code. In a project
I'm working on, we just eliminated over 600 lines of code in a ActiveX
control (actually we eliminated the *whole* ActiveX control), by using XLS
to transform a XML stream straight in to the format (HTML) we're after. And
you know what that just bought us by using XML & XLS ?

> Give me three reasons why XML is better than X.12?  I've asked
> this before. Never did get an answer.

XML was not created as a replacement for anything It was an extension to
SGML, to remove some of the strictness and allow more freedom in describing
data. XML is a document tag language. If developers feel they can use XML to
replace their current implementation and in doing so open up countless other
ways to use the XML stream that they are now producing then good for them.
If they feel that their current implementation does them just fine, and they
would have problems with vendors or customers that won't change then they
could stick with what they have. It's not the answer you were asking for,
but I'll try come back to this in another posting.

> Note:  I don't hate XML.  I'm not worried if I have to use it.
> Here's what
> I hate:  Hype, buzzwords, IT management who haven't programmed a lick of
> code in their life and wouldn't know XML from Javascript but still think
> that one thing like XML or Java will solve all problems that exist because
> Joe Pundit in PC Week said so (who also hasn't programmed since
> punchcards).

Yeah, I dislike buzzwords too, like i[something or other] for example
iSeries, and e[something or other] for example eRPG.

> I also don't like anything that is labeled "Next Generation" except Star
> Trek.

Or likewise things that use Generation X, Generation Y, etc. ?

> Don't show me theory and pretty pictures, show me fact and real world
> examples.  Let me hear from the programmers who had to implement
> this, not the project leaders who just hear "it's coming along ok".

We've been using a precursor to XML, and now XML, for the last 8 years. We
have so much flexibility using it that we have changed our communications
layer between client and server 5 times without rewriting changes to
accommodate the differences in either of them. And using XML is real easy.
The hard work is done by the parser, we just pick out various element data
that we are interested in - plus the DTD is helping enforce validation rules
for the data, so we've wiped out hundreds of lines of code that are there
just to catch the cases where the user decides that the letter Z is, for
today, a numeric value.

> So far, I haven't seen XML as the savior that Java was claimed to be.  :)

And you probably won't, in the short term. But as XML is becoming the
preferred method of data packaging it will suddenly creep up on you. There
are instances where XML is the wrong thing to use, in some cases it's worse
than wrong, it's stupid to use XML.

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