Replace and defend

Replace and defend. Reading the Longhorn SDK docs is a disorienting experience. Everything's familiar but different. Consider these three examples:

Joe Hewitt sums it up nicely:

I think the bottom-line of XAML is that it is equally useful for creating both desktop applications, web pages, and printable documents. This means that Microsoft may be attempting to simultaneously obsolete HTML, CSS, DOM, XUL, SVG, SMIL, Flash, PDF. At this point, the SDK documentation is too incomplete to firmly judge how well XAML compares with these formats, but I hope this lights a fire under the collective butt of the W3C, Macromedia, and Adobe. 2006 is going to be a fun year. [joehewitt.com]

Yeah, “embrace and extend” was so much fun, I can hardly wait for “replace and defend.” Seriously, if the suite of standards now targeted for elimination from Microsoft's actively-developed portfolio were a technological dead end, ripe for disruption, then we should all thank Microsoft for pulling the trigger. If, on the other hand, these standards are fundamentally sound, then it's a time for what Clayton Christensen calls sustaining rather than disruptive advances. I believe the ecosystem needs sustaining more than disruption. Like Joe, I hope Microsoft's bold move will mobilize the sustainers.

Update: I'm delighted to see that my former BYTE colleague John Montgomery, who is now a Microsoft group product manager and developer platform evangelist, and who helped Microsoft work through a number of standards issues in the formative era of Web services, has launched a blog. Excellent! Today, John notes this posting and promises to return with input from Longhorn architects. I very much look forward to a fuller discussion of these issues.  [Jon's Radio]

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