No. of Recommendations: 1
The biggest challenge I see is semantic integration. XML is absolutely the lingua franca, but all we've done is agree on a standard alphabet. We still have the vocabulary problem. If I receive an order for beer across the Web and the quantity is 3, is that three bottles, three cases, three kegs, or three truckloads? Every single XML document suffers from needing a semantic interpretation, and there's going to be a huge amount of work on the infrastructure to provide semantic mappings that tie these things together. That's where the real challenge of integration lies, and it's where there's real opportunity to differentiate vendor products.

Coming out of lurk mode for a moment.

I've been following the discussions here about BEAS as best I could, and like many others have been wondering "what feature of their product creates lock-in that makes it impractical and painful to switch to someone else's?" Just like you would want to win a Gorilla Game. The answer so far appears to be "none," but in reading this last paragraph it seems to me coming up with the protocol that does away with the need for semantic interpretations of XML would be one way of getting it. Perhaps there are others, but my understanding is too rudimentary to guess what they might be.


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