Is there still a need for IT persons to learn XML

Discussion in 'XML' started by David L, May 7, 2004.

  1. David L

    David L Guest

    Hi,

    I am wondering that whether the fact that as more
    tools/environments/products support XML, then the need for knowing XML
    itself gets less important.

    I am comparing xml to assembler. IT staff generally use higher level
    languages and not get worried by assembler itself.

    Thanks for sharing your valuable insights.
    David L, May 7, 2004
    #1
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  2. David L

    Andy Fish Guest

    I don't think it's a valid analagy at all. I would say the reverse is the
    case.

    Here's another analagy: as more and more tools/environments/products run on
    linux, the need for knowing linux gets more and more important

    "David L" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Hi,
    >
    > I am wondering that whether the fact that as more
    > tools/environments/products support XML, then the need for knowing XML
    > itself gets less important.
    >
    > I am comparing xml to assembler. IT staff generally use higher level
    > languages and not get worried by assembler itself.
    >
    > Thanks for sharing your valuable insights.
    Andy Fish, May 7, 2004
    #2
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  3. > tools/environments/products support XML, then the need for knowing XML
    > itself gets less important.
    >
    > I am comparing xml to assembler. IT staff generally use higher level
    > languages and not get worried by assembler itself.
    >

    Interesting analogy, one way to answer this question is to think of what
    the IT persons will be doing with the XML, as well as the industry trends
    and market forces that will shape the future of XML. To help identify
    the issues, consider the following "LEVELS" of XML use:

    ### LEVELS OF XML USE

    LEVEL1
    XML AS DATA INTERCHANGE FORMAT (aka XML compared to CSV)
    If you are familiar with CSV files, you know that this is a widely used
    format. CSV is not 'hierarchical' like XML, and has fewer built-in
    'delimiters', but serves a similar role. In this category, IT people
    use the syntax format simply to get information out of one application
    into another application (e.g., out of a spreadsheet and into a payroll
    database).

    LEVEL2
    XML AS SYNTAX FORMAT FOR PROGRAMMING LANGUAGES (aka XML for SVG, XSLT etc)
    Since the XML syntax format is 'hierarchical', it allows for
    more elaborate expressions, and some people have taken this expressiveness
    to create new programming languages. Given this 'level' of use, you can
    expect to see all the dynamics in the XML arena that you see in other
    'level2' arenas (e.g., programming IDEs, books and tutorials, religious
    wars, splintering of functionality and semantics into 'cliques', constant
    'improvements' to the language, etc. etc. ad nauseum)

    LEVEL3
    XML AS BASIS FOR 'SEMANTIC INFRASTRUCTURE' (aka XML as basis for SEMANTIC WEB)
    On this level, XML is supposedly used as a way of 'tagging' various
    information resources to make it easier for a computer to 'read' text, just
    like human beings. I say "supposedly" because there is considerable debate
    about whether this level of XML use will ever happen the way its principle
    advocates say it will. (see http://www.well.com/~doctorow/metacrap.htm)

    ### THE NEED TO KNOW XML

    If your IT staff anticipates mostly "LEVEL1" usage, then XML itself will
    not be very important to learn.

    If more "LEVEL2" usage is in your future,
    then indeed the very most minute details of XML should be well within your
    grasp, as you will be spending a considerable amount of time wrestling with:
    1) DELIMITER COLLISIONS: (e.g. how do I use a 'greater than sign' without
    the XML parser thinking its part of an XML tag?; how do I output an
    entity reference without XML interpreting it as an instruction and
    converting it to something else?)
    2) MEMORY JOGGING: (e.g. what is that keyword for specifying background
    again? what is that tag for specifying a loop?)
    3) KNOWLEDGE CARRY-OVER: (e.g. I know how to make a link in HTML, how do
    I do that in SVG, is it even possible?; I know how to define a variable
    in PASCAL, how do I do it in XSLT, is it even possible?; I know how to
    do a SELECT WHERE clause in SQL, how do I do that in XPATH??)
    4) LEAKY ABSTRACTIONS: This is a corrolary to KNOWLEDGE CARRY-OVER in the
    case where the 'carry over' seems sensible, but actually breaks down
    and causes more problems than it solves.
    (see http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/LeakyAbstractions.html)

    If more "LEVEL 3" usage is in your future, you will probably be spending
    most of your time trying to convince people that your vision is worthwhile,
    practical, feasible than you will be in learning the nuts and bolts of
    XML.

    ### MARKET FORCES

    LEVEL 1 uses will predominate where practicality and quick turnaround
    are paramount. The need to know XML is the least on this level since
    people are not as interested in how the data got exchanged, just long
    as it did so successfully. Also, market forces will cause LEVEL 1 people
    to use whatever tool gets the job done right and cost-effectively, which
    may or may not be XML, depending on a case-by-case basis.

    LEVEL 2 uses will crop up and be numerous, because LEVEL 2 is a
    favorable level for writing books, selling software, developing "expertise"
    and having stuff to talk about in usenet groups. This means a need for
    intimate knowledge of several of the in's and out's. You can buy my book
    for more details.

    LEVEL 3 forces will tend to be the stuff of PhD dissertations and
    academia. It will inspire mostly the devotees of XML, those who
    love XML because it's XML, not because they want *any* old tool, but
    because it's the XML revolution.
    valued customer, May 10, 2004
    #3
  4. David L

    GIMME Guest

    Search on

    java xml xslt - sort of like level 1

    java soap - sort of like level 2

    java axis - sort of like level 3

    at www.dice.com and see for yourself.

    I have a hunch that level three pays more.
    GIMME, May 11, 2004
    #4
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