XML is a markup language, similar to HTML, which allows applications to exchange documents and data over the internet. Making it a universal language for industry has meant bringing together rival vendors to create standard document formats.
But XML co-creator Peter Sharpe said that the project hasn’t been the political minefield some expected.
‘People realise that if they want the real benefits of XML across an industry, they have to standardise, and that having competing standards is not very fruitful,’ he said.
XML is an open technology, and some have speculated that it could spell doom for proprietary software. But Sharpe said that, in reality, vendors will create their own schemas, modifying XML for use on their own applications.
For example, if Microsoft Word saves a document in XML, then XML tools can be used on it, but it is still proprietary because only Word will use that schema.
Using XML will still decrease the number of choices users have to make over competing software, says IDC research director Rob Hailstone.
‘People will still be making decisions about what proprietary environment they use, but XML means the choice they make doesn’t prohibit them from doing business with someone who’s made a different choice,” he said.
- This article first appeared in Computing.
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