[sc34wg3] Marketing considerations

Patrick Durusau sc34wg3@isotopicmaps.org
Wed, 16 Apr 2003 13:39:42 -0400


A supplemental response on your point that users will have custom topic 
map applications built for their ontologies.

This involves statements about marketing and making money so the easily 
offended may wish to hit DEL NOW! (I am not as easly offended as some, 
perhaps because I am seeking allies and not soul mates in the pursuit of 
a ubiquity of topic maps and topic map software.)

Consider the history of markup languages from 8879 forward. Sure, the 
DOD and LockMart (Lockheed Martin), Boeing and the usual suspects that 
used SGML and that was an important watershed for the development of 
markup. SGML applications were custom designed and limited to a fairly 
small market share. Fast foward some 15 years and check the range of 
applications that exist for XML, from the free to the expensive. Some 
clients still have custom XML systems written, others get advice on 
using off-the-shelf software, while still others purchase books and 

Not saying it is the case that topic maps will follow the same path, but 
if I were betting hard currency, I would go for the broader rather than 
narrower market. If nothing else, having a broad market isolates vendors 
from the fickleness of a few clients. Not to mention that there is only 
one Lockheed Martin and only so many other concerns that can afford that 
sort of customization.


Patrick Durusau
Director of Research and Development
Society of Biblical Literature
Co-Editor, ISO Reference Model for Topic Maps