Puzzlin' Evidence #2

April 2, 1998

Puzzlin' Evidence #2

by Xavier McLipps

Last week, like every other true XML believer, McLipps found himself in <joke>sunny</joke> Seattle at the big XML bun-fight. Something else of a puzzlin' nature may happened somewhere else in the world during that week, I didn't see it. -X.McL.

The Conference

You young 'uns won't know this, but this wasn't the first-ever conference with "ML" in the title. The SGML tribe has been drinking to excess at overpriced hotels in cold climates since the late eighties.

This conference, though, was the first of its breed to sell out, closing registrations and turning people away. But it Sold Out in another sense too, according to attendees who snoozed through droning keynotes from less-than-authoritative sponsor employees; also according to vendor reps, some of them from big important players, who contrasted their rabbit-hutch booths with the sponsors' palatial quarters.

Crisis: Marketing Talent Shortage Hits Pacific Northwest

We hate to beat up on DataChannel, who are definitely in the FOX camp. But their marketing is developing a bicoastal echo problem, reports Xavier's first-ever espontaneo tipster. Consider the March 24th press release from FOXy Webmethods, from which we quote:

"Companies can leverage investments in existing Web sites, local data sources and applications, making the time and complexity of implementation minimal compared to technologies such as CORBA and traditional EDI," states Phillip Merrick, CEO and President of webMethods. "This ease of implementation together with the tight integration afforded by the B2B Integration Server will allow companies to streamline procurement and distribution costs, while decreasing time-to-market for major new products."

and this excerpt from a March 30th offering from DataChannel.

"Companies can leverage investments in existing Web sites, local data sources, and applications, maximizing the return on the corporate Intranet and Extranet," said David Pool, CEO and president of DataChannel, Inc. "This ease of implementation, together with the tight integration afforded by WebBroker, will allow companies to streamline procurement and distribution costs, while decreasing time-to-market for major new products."

Give DataChannel an edge in the comma-separation of subordinate clauses.


Friday afternoon found R.V. Guha of Netscape up on stage; a bright fellow but not a brilliant speechmaker. Mr. G. showed off a nice, ordinary Web page, did a "view source" to reveal XML under the covers, and stopped. After a moment, the audience broke into applause. Spontaneous? Maybe, but the pause seemed just a bit scripted, and we detected some well-known nuke-Redmond-till-it-glows operatives sitting at the initial loci of the applause. My own cynicism appalls me.


Last time, we wrote:
Tongues are wagging over Inso's having snapped up Synex...
Well, Netscape having demonstrated native display of XML on Friday afternoon, we're wondering if the Synex boys, smelling impending doom, may have shown inspired business sense in selling out at the last possible moment.

Last time:
We hear whispers that Adobe, under its "Frame" hat, wants into XML big-time, and is out there snagging senior people from leading mouldy old SGML oops dynamic young XML companies...
Our wires may have been crossed; but a certain VP of Engineering from ArborText has certainly gone missing in action. Breaths are bated, waiting to see where he pops up.

Last time:
On the subject of hiring, turn an eye to the South Valley, where, within spitting distance of PARC, mouldy old SGML oops dynamic young XML exec Bob Glushko is importing a wave of MOS oops DYX hacks to The Company Soon To Be Formerly Known As CNGroup.
The truth is out; they are now known as "Veo", and staged an almost perfect launch last week, lavishly wining & dining a motley group of industry insiders, who reeled away in a benevolent mood. Why almost perfect? They didn't invite McLipps. They'll pay.

Rolling On The Floor Laughing

The conference part of the conference featured a lot of high-velocity air, cool breezes from the frantically waving hands of industry analysts, hot blasts from the throats of marketing execs outlining how their new products revolutionize the Web through multimedia convergence centered on a new object-oriented paradigm in personalized Java-based knowledge publishing driven Ecommerce.

But for serious wind, you just can't beat this beautifully-printed 36-page tome from NC.Focus, entitled XML: Enabling Application Interoperability, which the cover notes is "Presented gratis of the Graphic Communications Association to attendees...". As the "notice of disclosure" inside makes clear, this is an advertising piece, and the companies written up inside paid to be there.

McLipps hopes they didn't pay much. here's the first paragraph of the Microsoft eulogy (we started marking typos, thinkos, and busted grammar with [sic], but the density threatened to obscure the limpid prose):

Due to their sheer size and momentum, Microsoft is undoubtably an important player in the XML market. They participation in the W3C and support of the XML standards work has been impressive. Furthermore, Microsoft has positioned XML as a key part of the Windows platform by.