Boulevard of Broken XML Dreams

“I walk a lonely road, the only road that I have ever known,
I don’t know where it goes, but it’s only me and I walk alone.”

– Green Day, Boulevard of Broken Dreams

I’ve been traveling a bit of late, talking to customers, and a theme that I mentioned in this post, Pushing 1994 Hot Buttons, keeps coming up. The theme is that while the XML grand vision has been around for nearly ten years, that the tools to fully implement it are quite new. As a result, I often find myself describing our target market as broken-hearted visionaries.

What was that vision again?

“A central XML repository for all content. Presentation- and product-neutral. Content repurposed seamlessly into multiple products. The same content delivered painlessly to multiple channels, like print, web pages, RSS feeds, PDAs, and sometimes even voice. The ability to find small bits of content and re-assemble them to make new products — recombinant content, if you will. Easy transformation and integration of content from multiple sources. Custom publishing systems. Print on demand. Single-source publishing.”

You can hear the excitement building as they describe the vision.

“Sure, well, we wanted to do that.” The vision deflates. “We thought we could that. We hoped we could do that. But we couldn’t. I suppose we have to live in the real world.”

Broken dreams.

Here’s the thing. In the past few years, the technology has caught up the vision. Now, you can implement these systems; we do it at Mark Logic every day. Don’t let what was not possible yesterday using a franken-combination of databases and search engines limit what you try to do today.

Simply put: XML + XQuery + XML content servers (like MarkLogic) now deliver on the XML grand vision. Dust off your inner visionary and see!

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