SGML Europe 98 - english version


Ursula Raithelhuber, UB MEDIA Verlag GmbH, St. Wolfgang

online by Derrek Erhold

[deutsche Version]

The weather in Paris was wonderful. Nevertheless the room of the opening plenary was almost full with about 1000 conference visitors.

Jon Bosak`s keynote address was excellent. By the way he presented a real XML application and showed that with XML plus Style Sheets publishing from one single source is possible.

But the most important thing was that Jon Bosak showed the social, the economic and the political implications of a world of documents freed from proprietary formats.

This means in Jon Bosak`s words:

"An end to domination of the market by a few big companies"

"An end to domination of the market by a few big countries"

Software development will be easier using XML data rather than SGML data because the XML model does not allow any exceptions. However, I think there will remain a lot of users who will continue using commercial software in the future, despite the possibility of easier software development . The risk for such users is that they are offered systems from software companies who claim to have standard based systems but which are, in fact, based on proprietary formats. I think we should be cautious also in the future about promises from software vendors.

Jean Paoli, member of a "big company", namely Microsoft, showed for the first time that data within Office `98 (which will be shipped this summer) are stored in HTML/XML. This was in fact really interesting.

Tim Bray held a brilliant speech, I think it was the longest one held up to now at the SGML Europe conference. The speech was unter the motto: What isn`t a document ? The answer was of course that almost all compositions of various data are considered as documents.

Tim Bray compared the evolution of SGML with that of jazz which found its supporters slowly and more in the background whilst XML, like Rock`n Roll, became a success almost overnight. Bray then searched for the people associated with these evolution and compared Jon Bosak with Miles Davis and himself with John Lennon.

At the same time Tim Bray suggested a new description of our profession: Document Architect.

Conclusion of SGML/XML Europe '98: SGML or XML: It remains exciting.

will XML come?

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