Thursday, March 05, 1998 at 4:45:02 PM Pacific

Brian Travis on XML

From Brian Travis in response to XML is also a Commercial.

Mr. Travis's company, Information Architects, is running the XML show at Seybold in New York.

Brian Travis on XML

I read your piece today, and I wanted to respond with a few thoughts.

First, you say that the XML thing is getting commercialized. I totally agree with you on that, but I think that is a Good Thing. I came from the SGML community. SGML has most of the same great potential as XML, except that it was hijacked very early by the academic community, where it has remained until now. XML is SGML on a diet, but still has the same elegance, albeit with an easier-to-swallow implementation advantage.

I agree that there has been a lot of hype about XML, but there has also been some really good thinking about how it can make life easier. The people doing the hype can be found anywhere (as in "push"). However, the people who are doing the really good thinking (DataChannel, webMethods, NC.Focus) are doing it so they can make money. Nothing secret about that.

It is in everyone's best interest to get the honest word out about XML. A rising tide raises all boats, the larger pie means everyone gets a larger slice, whatever metaphor you want to use, the fact remains that all of us, the academics, the analysts, and the producers, will grow with the growing market.

At Xmlu.com, we decided that, in order to get the word out to the most people possible, we need to price it ridiculously low, $95 for the day. In order to offer this kind of pricing, we needed sponsors to help us with the expenses. But, even more, we needed sponsors to help us with the content, and to advise us about what is important to them and to their customers. That set (sponsors and customers) largely make up the target market for XML. This input is at least as important than the money, but our road shows would not happen without both.

A funny thing about money is that people don't just give it to you; they usually want something in return. In return for their money, we give our sponsors exposure in the form of their logos on our conference materials and web site. They are also invited to participate in the program. However, companies that are not our sponsors (UserLand, for example) are also invited to participate, because we think they have something that can benefit the community.

All of us have been very clear to point out that the most important thing, at this early stage in the life of XML, is to grow the market. Our entire XML Xposed show series in the U.S., Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, are designed to let as many people as we can fit into the hall find out about XML. We'll worry about making our money later.

Brian Travis

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