XML Becomes Invisible
Wednesday, April 8, 1998 by Dave Winer.
Yesterday's piece was confusing.
I'm going to try again, leaving out the stuff about Java and open source code.
The role of XML is changing for me as I build applications where it's used but not visible. It'll be like that in all software. The benefit of XML will be compatibility. It won't be in your face, except perhaps in a smile, because two pieces of software just worked together and it surprised you in a pleasant way.
XML is worth some attention because it's about power -- your power to choose the software and vendors you want to work with. In other words, if you want choices without sacrificing compatibility, XML is for you.
But XML is forming around the structure of today's software industry. Microsoft is reasonably well organized internally, but the rest of the industry isn't. Unless something changes, that means XML could work well on Microsoft systems, but not as well on non-Microsoft systems.
I'm a software developer and I don't work for Microsoft. If that describes you too, then instead of focusing on Microsoft, let's look at ourselves. Are we organized for movement? Can we be more powerful than we are?
If each of us outside Microsoft looks hard at where our interests really lie, I think it's in compatibility with each other. The high road is to build efficient and simple bridges and then compete on features and performance, with each other, and with Microsoft.
We have a chance to do something historic with XML.
We can offer real compatibility and interchangeability.
We can eliminate a level of lock-in, and raise the level of competition.
A step in that direction, for this industry, would be truly historic.
This morning I revised our proposal, hopefully to clear up confusion and make it broader.
Thanks for all the feedback, I think we're getting closer to the big picture.
Openly and publicly.
We'll keep digging together...
PS: A manifesto is a public declaration of motives and intentions by a government or by a person or group regarded as having some public importance.