Notes on opening plenary of XML '98, Chicago
Henry S. Thompson

16 November 1998

1. Norm Scharpf, GCA

Conference intro usual pieties, notable only for the circumlocutory lengths gone to to avoid the now-banned 4-letter word: SGML. History was rewritten (previous conferences were "Markup Technology" conferences) and current reality misrepresented (the ISO standards committee meeting last week was identified as working on document technologies, not SGML). No place on the programme for Goldfarb!

2. Chuck Geschke, Adobe

Data/Document dichotomy: Claim corporate information (asset) base breaks down 85% document/15% transaction-based data. Disappointingly banal stuff about single source/multiple destination. Evolution asserted:

PGML -> SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics): XML-based W3C draft standard for graphics, marrying PS/PDF vector graphics model with web delivery. Next level up from GIF/TIFF/... Demo of ActiveX control/Netscape plugin implementation. Transparency, scalability, masking of images.

Beyond XML: "Publishing-specific standards will emerge, e.g. 'Story Content Language'" -- is this like the what's-her-name-from-Stuttgart idea?

XSL and CSS should converge.

PDF still a flagship: archival, stable, published. Does this address the 'what did I sign' issue we discussed with Alan Rector?

Information is not just data, it's presentation of data in a way which makes an impact.

3. Steve Savignano: Netscape

XML is core support for net economy, i.e. secure net-based exchange of messages.

Modularising the supply chain: XML is interface definition (sounds like STEP). Open architecture business service network.

A lot of technology-free waffle.

4. J Allard: Microsoft

Windows DNA (Distributed Network Architecture) strategy

Three-tier picture: