XML Comes into the Limelight

November 20, 1997

Seybold Report on Internet Publishing
Vol 2, No 3

TO THOSE WHO have worked for two decades on establishing SGML as a key technology for publishing, the opening day of Seybold San Francisco was a moment to savor. From the opening keynotes, where even John Warnock talked more about the need for structure than the benefits of WYSIWYG, to the afternoon panels, where metadata was described as the "key to good content management," XML—or simplified SGML—was the hot new technology of the day.

The surprising aspect was the extent to which mainstream vendors were voicing their support for XML. Warnock, who said "asset management was a big deal," but failed to spell out any Adobe strategy for addressing it, at least acknowledged that XML was on the "short list" of things the FrameMaker group will do. (Lest anyone get their hopes up too high, under questioning, Warnock all but dismissed the notion that PDF might one day carry SGML source data.)

Commenting on the XML fervor at the event, Steve DeRose, coauthor of the XML W3C working draft and chief scientist at Inso, was quoted by Wired Digital as saying that "the ‘quiet revolution’ [a reference to SGML] is now no longer quiet, but boisterous, productive, and growing at Web speed." Indeed, as we went to press a month after the event, the new posting by Jeff Veen at WebMonkey was his guide to XML-related acronyms.