PDM Interview with James Utzschneider (July 1999)

Is XML for real? PDM quizzed Jim Utzschneider, Microsoft's Technical Architect, Industry Frameworks

PDM – XML is the talk of the show, but if it lives up to its promises, it will open up IT to all-comers – UNIX, Java. Is this really Microsoft’s strategy?

J.U. – Yes. HTML is a default, open format for Office 2000 and XML is used to store the formatting information.

PDM – Will XML be appropriate for the complex, large data objects in E&P?

J.U. – Not all data types are amenable to XML, but binary data can be encapsulated and XML supports C data types.

PDM – XML has an anachronistic flavor, can it really compete with CORBA?

J.U. XML is market driven. Distributed computing across the web cannot always support tight integration – hence the need for something simple that can cope with an e-commerce system which may take 12 hours to respond.

PDM – What role will these technologies have in technical to financial computing (ERP)?

J.U. – ERP to date is like a mediaeval fiefdom with its own rules and regulations. Communicating with such systems has been hard. We need to get ERP to implement a ’treaty’ - to offer-up say just five pieces of intelligible data.

PDM - so what is wrong with COM or CORBA in this context?

J.U. - We need robustness and simplicity - I do not want to trust your API, or to have to use SQL-Net - just send me standard XML and I will do what I like with it. The CORBA/business object approach is flawed because of the requirement to synchronize every protocol stack on every system - in other words for all 'fiefdoms' to become part of each other. This leads to the problem of the 'uberschema' an all-encompassing industry data model which we know is unrealizable.

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