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February 4, 1999


By CBR Staff Writer

By Rachel Chalmers

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)’s Extensible Markup Language (XML) keeps gaining ground as the de facto standard for all kinds of complex transactions handled over the web. The latest company on the bandwagon is JetForm Corp, which announced an XML Forms Architecture (XFA) built to capture, present, move, process and output information. JetForm sees the specification moving into enterprise resource planning and customer resource management systems.

Interestingly enough, that’s just the future fellow Canadian company sees for its XML Forms Description Language (XFDL), which it created in consultation with XML co-creator Tim Bray. Not to worry: if the market doesn’t decide which spec to back, the W3C will. Both companies say they are active members of the standards body. XFA is one of four prongs of JetForm’s new internet strategy: the others are web-based products, e-process applications and what it calls an e-forms portal.

Meanwhile at the Object Management Group (OMG), a long-running standards battle is at the point of being resolved. On Friday February 5, OMG members will announce their support for the XML metadata interchange (XMI) specification, a collaborative effort on the part of Unisys, IBM and Oracle. By describing exactly how object metadata should be formatted for transmission over the internet, XMI should make it easier for users of workgroup and component-based development tools to coordinate their software development efforts.

The new standard brings existing OMG standards, the Unified Modeling Language (UML) and Meta Object Facility (MOF), into the internet age, and replaces proprietary metadata interchange formats from Rational Software, Select Software and Platinum Software. Those vendors have thrown their weight behind XMI, as have Fujitsu, Softeam, Daimler-Benz, Sprint, Sybase, Xerox, Boeing, Ardent, NCR and NTT.

Finally, Software AG has said that it will launch an XML server at CeBit ’99 in Hanover, Germany in March. To be called Tamino, the server will enter a market already bristling with competition from Bluestone’s Java-based XML server (CI No 3,590) and webMethods Inc’s B2B (CI No 3,589).

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