Monday, August 13, 2012

Big Changes in the Markup World

This year I attended and Presented at Balisage (   I have been going to (and presenting at) this Geekfest for years although a small slice of the time of many attendees.   For those who don't know, Balisage is THE Markup and XML conference of north America.    As things do, over the years things have changed ... but this year I really felt a groundswelling of change rather than surface changes.

A few years ago this started with a sense of "Is XML Dead" ... then came the "JSON Is Taking over" ... But now I get a feeling the tips of the changeberg have melted and merged and matured.   The "fight" of HTML vs XML vs JSON seems largely over and subsumed by "How can we work together".  Many discussions of how to compromise or change data models to work better with different formats rather than to force the other side over.  XML seems as solid as ever ... or even more so ... after seeing what big agencies like the US Navy and the CDC are doing ... XML is no longer a new technology, it is the foundation of huge complex systems - but by that it seems not particularly interesting in itself but rather the complex systems built out of them.

Purity of format doesn't seem as dominate as much as the need to adapt to complex and heterogeneous systems where XML is a core part but often not the beginnings or the ends.   XML has found its place strongly in the complex document area and the tools are widely used.   The change I feel is a shift of focus from XML as a Technology, to Processes, Integration and Complexity management.   I think the next few years will see some deep shifting sands in things like data models and tools - not cataclysmic changes but rather adoptive changes as competing technologies, processes and people work out what it will take to handle the next level of complexity.   People seem less religious about the shape of the angle brackets and more interested in how to get work done.

At least that is my view.

(fyi my presentation is here : )

Pictures care of Syd Bauman