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Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Online Learning Costs
As a DP manager looking for educational opportunities for a large and diverse development staff, I found Jim Milbery's article on online XML courses in XML-Journal [Vol. 2, issue 8] quite enlightening. I agree with the conclusion that online courses work better for overview-type classes rather than detailed technical courses. I was wondering whether you could compare the cost of online courses for a group of about 20-25 to the cost of bringing in a teacher on-site?

Charlie Greene
via e-mail

Direct cost comparisons between on-site courses and online courses are hard to make on a purely objective basis. If you need to train geographically separated teams of developers on core technology (XML, Java, etc.), then prebuilt, online courses can be very cost effective. You avoid the travel costs, and you're not paying for the cost of customized materials. Furthermore, the students don't have to take the class at the same time, which can eliminate loss time and reduce costs. The potential "soft cost" downside is that students working at their own desks may be distracted from the course work - so you're not getting your money's worth. On the flip side, a good, experienced technical instructor is going to cost you $2,500 per day plus travel expenses. If your students are already in the same physical location, then on-site instruction should be much cheaper on a "per student" basis. In either case, I'm a firm believer in lots of lab work. Give students a little instruction and then make them get their hands dirty. In my experience, most technical students learn by "doing" as opposed to "watching."

XML-J vs WSJ
I just started getting XML-Journal a couple of months ago. It's a great magazine and I really like the content. However, I noticed that SYS-CON also publishes a Web Services Journal. How are these different? Do the contents overlap?

Ron Stewart
New York, NY

Thanks for the kudos. I'm glad you like XML-J. You've asked a good question regarding the two magazines. Several other folks have also asked this on numerous occasions. We feel there is a need for two separate magazines to cover these technologies. If you look at the other publications in the industry, several publishers combine Web services and XML content into one publication. While there's nothing wrong with that, we feel that different business and developer groups focus on different aspects of the technologies. Having everything in a single magazine provides mixed content, all of which may not be relevant to a particular reader group.

The ovelap is because Web services is a paradigm that's built on XML technologies. However, Web services are focused on a more abstract business application layer - one that exposes the functionality of applications as componentized services that can be published on the Web. XML is used to build these services. XML technologies occupy a lower echelon in the technology suite. For example, XML is now the de facto standard for configuration files in application servers. This may not be of any interest to folks building Web services for an order management system.

XML-J does have a Web services column to focus on that particular topic. However, it also covers XML standards, XSLT, Java and XML, XML servers, XML development environments, and so on. WSJ, on the other hand, will focus on UDDI, WSDL, SOAP, and related technologies. Over time we expect Web services development to become available in application server development environments. These environments are powered by XML and related technologies.

Figuring It Out?
Interesting editorial on the different flavors of application servers [XML-J, Vol. 2, issue 10]. Do you have any recommendations on how to figure out what product to evaluate?

Florence Johnson
New Haven, CT

Glad you liked the editorial. The first thing you need to do is identify where in your application does XML play a role. Are you using it at the presentation layer for layout management? Are you using it at the database level for queries? Are you using it for passing documents in a business process?

Once you identify the areas, you need to go to the market and do the research. There are a couple of interesting sites that group XML products into specific application categories. One of the best online sites that I have seen is www.xmlsoftware.com.

Letters may be edited for grammar and clarity as well as length.

Please e-mail any comments to Ajit Sagar [email protected].

More Stories By Ajit Sagar

Ajit Sagar is Associate VP, Digital Transformation Practice at Infosys Limited. A seasoned IT executive with 20+ years experience across various facts of the industry including consulting, business development, architecture and design he is architecture consulting and delivery lead for Infosys's Digital Transformation practice. He was also the Founding Editor of XML Journal and Chief Editor of Java Developer's Journal.

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