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XML in ASP.NET Minimize

An associate of mine sent an email asserting that Microsoft is on it's way to hijacking HTML. His reasoning went like this:

  1. XML is now being used for forms development in .NET 3.0
  2. Sharepoint is now using XML via CAML.
  3. Web parts, in ASP.NET came from Sharepoint.
  4. Therefore, it is likely that Microsoft will use XML of some sort in ASP.NET.

Is it true that this is the path that Microsoft is taking?

Well....

Yes, it's true that Windows Forms uses XML.

Yes, it's also true that Sharepoint server uses XML.

However, saying that Microsoft's use of XML means they have something diabolical up their sleeve makes as much sense as saying that IBM's use of XML in J2EE means they have something diabolical up their sleeve.

The truth is, Microsoft is using XML because it works. XML has been around for a very long time in terms of Internet time and the only significant change that has been made to it is XSD file to define the XML instead of DTDs. XML can't be hijacked simply because it was created to be flexible enough for just about any use one could think if. It is being used to store everything from a UML document to a Word Processing document to data from a database. I'd say that's pretty flexible.

Yes, Web Parts, in ASP.NET is something that was originally created in Sharepoint. I really don't see where this has any baring at all. Maybe I'm missing something here.

And finally, the big question:

Will Microsoft use XML of some sort in ASP.NET?

Drumroll please....

No.

They won't.

Why?

Because, they already are!

Yep. The whole concept of <asp:control /> syntax is straight from the XML play book. In fact, Microsoft isn't the first company to do this. This was already being used in JSP long before Microsoft began using it.

Also, XHTML is THE standard for developing web pages. Again, not because of Microsoft. In fact, the number one complaint about Visual Studio 2002/2003 was that it did not support XHTML.

In the last several years, I've seen Microsoft back off from taking over standards. Most recently, I've seen this with them backing off passport and working with the industry for a standard that will work with everyone. It's called Card Space and it is part of Vista and .NET 3.0

Finally, even if Microsoft wanted to take over HTML standards, they couldn't. Much as they'd like ASP.NET to be THE coding platform, they're doing good if 25% of web developers use it. They have to compete with PHP, JSP, and ASP. It would not surprise me if the majority of web sites were either static sites or PHP sites. JSP has a pretty firm foothold in the corporate market. And, I'm still seeing post about how ASP.NET "doesn't offer anything compelling".. they're wrong of course, but if you don't get event driven object oriented programming and have never seen how to really use the IDE, it is easy to see how an old ASP programmer would feel this way.

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