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Re: [xml-dev] XML websites

From: Bryan Murphy <bryan@--------.--->
To: "Dennis D." <xmo1@-----.--->
Date: 6/3/2003 3:26:00 PM
Dennis,

I've been working on XML based websites for a number of years for my 
employer.  I've done a number of projects, from simple REST service type 
applications, to web sites that use one or two XML documents as 
datasources, to web sites that are through and through XML+XSL. 

I've found through the years that XML is a tool that is the equivalent 
of a chainsaw.  When you are trying to do something that requires a 
little more finesse (like say a open up an Xbox with a screw driver) 
you'll often find that the chainsaw is NOT what you need.

My question is... Why are you so interested in making everything so XML 
dependent?  Are you trying to build an XML based interface that other 
clients can use?  Does XSL provide you a set of features that meets 
requirements other languages (such as C#, Java or Python) don't meet?  
Or are you just trying to conform to the latest buzz word because it's 
the latest buzz word?

It sounds to me like you are approaching this problem from the wrong 
perspective.  Instead of asking why more sites aren't XML based, perhaps 
you should be asking yourself why you need an XML layer when a business 
entity or caching layer may serve you better.  Or perhaps you should be 
asking yourself what it is you intend to acomplish with XML as opposed 
to what is possible.  Those are much easier questions to answer. 

If we know explicitly what it is you are want to accomplish, we can much 
better answer your questions and point you in the right direction.  
Right now, what you are trying to do is somewhat vague to us and 
therefore the advice we can offer in return will be similarly vague.

In my experience, XML is a good tool for building web pages, but it 
shouldn't be entirely relied upon.  Many of the older technologies are 
just as capable at creating good quality professional websites, and in 
many ways are simpler and easier to maintain in the long run.  You 
should only use XML if you need it, and right now you've not really 
given us a good explanation of WHY you need it.

Bryan

> I have a database application programming background (Oracle SQL+, 
> dbase, MS Access), and have been studying XML for awhile (6 months+). 
> I've seen several case studies (especially at Microsoft) using XML as 
> a legacy database interface, and other applications where XML is being 
> implemented using various application languages.
>  
> What I haven't seen is a true XML website; a model. If XML technology 
> is set to become the pervasive programming language of webservers 
> everywhere, then where are the websites? I've seen some examples of 
> web 'pages' using XHTML. Microsoft has enabled MSXML in their 
> browsers, yet I don't see it being used in public websites in the 
> programming code. In fact, Microsoft seems to be using JavaScript 
> (which was originally a Netscape product as you know), and using XML 
> as a database application to build their website. IBM is using an HTML 
> document on it's homepage, but at least it declares a DOCTYPE 
> and references a dtd called ibmxhtml1. W3 is using XHTML1 strict.
>  
> Where is XML in this? Where are the true XML websites, and the browser 
> clients that display them?
>  
> Why do I ask? I've been building websites for about 7 years (as a 
> hobby). Currently, I have single website of a couple hundred pages, 
> which includes an MS Access database and a message board (written in 
> ASP). I am familiar with CSS, JavaScript, and some other 
> languages which I could combine to construct a website. I want to 
> re-write it using the latest and greatest technology available. I 
> thought that would be XML. Turns out that XHTML is the latest and 
> greatest. It is an interim solution. Worse, it involves a complex 
> conversion process to yield (I suspect) the XHTML pages. Do you know 
> of any true XML websites? I'm sort of at a loss about where I should 
> be going with this. I've taken my site down, studied the content, and 
> I'm left with the builders dilemma; how to redress the architecture 
> (languages, db's, etc.). As a website builder, what model should I be 
> looking toward; Microsoft, IBM, W3C and it's Amaya client?
>  
> Respectfully,
>  
> Dennis Dickens,
> Lakewood, WA, USA

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