Sweeping vision

November 20, 1997

Seybold Report on Internet Publishing
Vol 2, No 3

The most sweeping endorsement of XML came from John Gage, the scientific wit from Sun Microsystems. Drawing a parallel to PostScript, which provides an abstract way to describe graphical pages, Gage positioned XML, and its style sheet component, XSL, as nothing less than the future of computing. Noting that the computing industry is obsessed with "aggressive abstraction," trying to make both software and the data it manipulates as neutral and portable as possible, Gage predicted that XML/XSL will be the glue that integrates electronic commerce, databases and even operating systems. The result, concluded Gage, will be that "the computer [becomes] an extensible, linked document and database," taking us past the original visions of hypertext pioneered by Doug Engelbart and Ted Nelson into a new era in which documents are readily created (rather than prebuilt) views of information pulled from disparate sources.