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XML in Action : Page 3

You know who they are—they're the people and toomakers that the rest of us look to when we're trying to figure out a new technology. They are the innovators.


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XML Innovator: Aimee Lingman
"To me, XML makes sense. It makes sense in a way that HTML does not. I feel as though we're all just using HTML because it's there, not because it's really doing what we want it to do."

Name: Aimee Lingman
Company: Sundial Studios
Title: Co-Owner, Project Manager

Silicon Alley-based Sundial Studios is a Web developer/consulting firm. Clients include Club Nautilus, CRC Communications, Web Cinema and Delta Three. Special projects include as Jewish Web Week, and Click on Judaism, as well as holiday promotions, (one of which was a Project Cool sighting): Valentino: A Different Kind of Cupid and Sundial M for Murder. Co-Owner Aimee Lingman (shown here with partner Kevin Beimers) also freelances as a Web Developer for the Sci-Fi channel.



You said you are writing a paper on XML. Why are you doing this?

"I chose to write the paper to move towards an advanced degree with a Canadian University (Lakehead University in Ontario), but the reason I chose XML is because I would be able to use the knowledge with my company, Sundial. I reasoned that I would eventually have to learn XML to continue with web development, so why not learn and get a credit!

"The XML paper is about the history of the web, leading up to the need for XML, and it covers a brief tutorial on how to learn to program in XML. I've tried to write the paper so that I could learn from it, if I were to run across it on the web."

Why did you decide to use XML?

"As a Web developer, I can see XML reaching the same and greater level of popularity as HTML, with many more uses. To me, XML makes sense. it makes sense in a way that HTML does not. I feel as though we're all just using HTML because it's there, not because it's really doing what we want it to do. Now, with XML, the learning curve is slightly higher, but the uses far outweigh this curve."

"I consider HTML to be like duct tape and now we finally have the tools do do what we've been trying to piece together with HTML. It's (XML) revolutionary and as soon as people realize that, it will spread like wildfire."

It sounds like you think XML is worth it...but many developers feel the tools for XML aren't there...and that it is extremely time-consuming.

"It sounds to me as though these developers are forgetting the early days of HTML, or heck, even Java! With any new language, we are going to have a brief period of time where the development tools aren't there. It's going to be our support of the language that makes it profitable for companies to develop the software we need. And there are already a few useful tools on the market. Everything is in it's early stages, of course, but developing quickly. XML makes too much sense and is too useful for us not to move forward. "

What is the most difficult part of pitching the benefits of XML to potential clients?

"The toughest thing is explaining why we should redevelop a site or spend additional time creating a site with XML. A lot of companies are satisfied with HTML and so why spend the extra money?

"The angle I'll be taking is that it's a case of building the house with duct tape or building it with nails and screws. It'll last longer and you'll be happier with the final product."

So what are those benefits?

"The advantages of XML are multiple, but basically, XML allows us to identify data and the contents of a page, as opposed to blindly using HTML to layout the page without specifying what it's contents are. Sure, we've had meta-tags and such, but we all know how true the contents of meta-tags can be sometimes, don't we!

"But this is not to say that XML is going to be here in the next two months, it's going to take a while for people to get their heads around the benefits of XML. The biggest problem is that it has to be easy to develop with, and XSL has to be pushed right alongside of XML or else there is that nasty question of "yeah, but what can be done with it?

"My company has several publication clients and I can see us eventually using XML to handle the updating, archiving and searching of those sites. We will, in a sense, finally be putting things into the right file folder in the digital cabinet, instead of in a pile on the floor. It will be quite refreshing! Of course, this process with take time and money, but it will slowly be done."

What tools are you using for XML?

"XML Pro. I've found that's it's a great beginner's tool and can really help you stick to valid documents, which is one thing that an HTML coder needs!"





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