I’ve heard it 1000 times since ‘97. “XML, it’s just plumbing”. Maybe, but it hasn’t really felt that way in past years. Too much was still unsettled, and and there were too many people who were not interested in letting things settle (including me). On the rebound from 2 very enjoyable XML conferences, XML Prague and Extreme Markup Languages, it does finally feel to me that the era of absent-minded XML pipe-laying is upon us. I think that’s a good thing, especially now that XML is well enough established that few people choose to build edifices without it. This does mean that we have established what I’ve always characterized as a basic writing system for data integration, and now the really fun stuff can begin as the philosophers and politicians work on libraries to suit their schools (yeah, I know I’m starting to pile up the metaphors, and why not?)
My notes from Extreme are:
One interesting follow-up note to day 3 comes from the announcement “OASIS forms six committees to simplify SOA”. This one caused the obvious titters on #atom IRC. But what further surprised me is that McRae of OASIS was at the what-to-standardize-next panel at Extreme where Ann Wrightson in particular suggested a cross-organizational group to try to make some sense of the Web services/SOA chaos. No mention was made of this OASIS-only 6-committee effort. Clearly it’s not yet all plumbing in SOA world.
XML Prague and Extreme both showed me that regardless of XSLT 1.0 vs. 2.0 vs. XQuery, RELAX NG vs. WXS vs. Schematron and even RDF vs. Topic Maps, people were just finding basic ways to get their tasks done while remaining compatible with as broad as possible a cross-section of other XML technologies. I like a good flame war as well as the next crank netizen, but it’s good to see the maturing of the XML space, even as it becomes obvious how much more we have left to do.