Does XML mean APIs are inconsequential glue now?

by Rick Jelliffe

Rusty has a quote from Wil Shipley today that Microsoft has nothing to gain by making life better for small programmers....they make all their money selling Windows and Office..

The subject of the quote is Windows APIs (and is a pretty broad claim for someone who admits to not really having looked at .NET or C#...hmmm) but without taking sides on any technical merits I suspect people will apply the same trope to (MS/ECMA) Office Open XML file formats. And I think they would be dead wrong there: MS needs to enable their army of system integrators to sell MS back-end systems and Windows-based solutions in the new XML-ified, document-exchanging world. So MS is positioning Office as a platform that can both compete with web-based applications and integrate with them.

Think about it: Can MS compete with Windows versus Linux as a platform? Not really: you cannot get any cheaper than free... And can MS compete with Java versus .NET as a platform? Compete maybe but not win: they are a two-man conga line...But what competes with Office as a platform? Open Office? Err, perfectly good as far as it goes (I use it!) but certainly it doesn't actually go very far (I am going to upgrade to the new Open Office 2.1 today...maybe it will solve the current problems I have with unusable arrowed lines and jaggy PDF export.)

The thing about XML is that it reduces role of the API to being glue for connecting declarative pieces: queries, XML documents, XML transformations, XML configuration, XML GUI. Worrying about crappy APIs is so 90s. (I don't really mean that, of course. OK I do mean it a bit.)

3 Comments

tndal
2006-12-18 15:12:06
Rick states:
"MS needs to enable their army of system integrators to sell MS back-end systems and Windows-based solutions in the new XML-ified, document-exchanging world."


Microsoft has no "army".


Perhaps by "army" you are referring to the former 3-million or so Visual Basic and ASP developers? One must remember that Microsoft screwed those developers by designing VB.NET and ASP.NET to:


- be totally incompatible with previous versions of VB and ASP and
- disallow migration of software written in VB6 (and earlier) and ASP.


That "army" has left Microsoft for other WWW technologies. The only Microsoft "army" today is the army of Microsoft employees.


The Piper _will_ be paid.

Rick Jelliffe
2006-12-18 17:32:33
So MS needs to enable their former and future army rather than their current army...


If their army are AWOL it only makes MS' need for this greater.

Lance
2006-12-20 10:20:47
Microsoft has nothing to gain by making life better for small programmers...


...and they never have. In the 1980s I got an offer from MS to pay $3000 to get their "Developer's" materials. That's $3000 worth of 1980's dollars.


It continues to be a baffling mystery how so many people take no personal affront with the obvious, blatant, unrelenting, in-your-face arrogance MS unabashedly shows to both developers and users, alike.


The unmistakable history and evidence is that at NO time, EVER, has MS made a SINGLE decision based on what was good for ANYONE ELSE except MS.