Netscape Communications Corp has submitted a proposal for discussion to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) which extends the current Extensible Mark-up Language (XML) object description language to describe such things as website layouts, file systems, or mailboxes, called Meta Content Framework (MCF). XML is currently at first draft stage with the W3C (CI No 3,162) and enables a greater diversity of tags within web pages. MCF was actually developed last year by Apple Computer Inc, but no doubt that company has had more important things to occupy its time of late. The framework is already supported by more than 350 companies, but Netscape has now picked up the ball in an attempt to get more comprehensive standardization. Microsoft has been pushing XML quite hard, and Netscape admits that it has not been quite so vocal because until now it didn’t really have an XML story to tell. Netscape have taken Apple’s standard and added the ability to summarize not only website maps, indices, and content, but also file structure, and database information. Products such as IBM Corp’s NetObjects Fusion website management tool already use MCF, to describe the layout of websites. So-called web channels, such as those defined by Microsoft’s Channel Definition Format or that used by Marimba Inc also use meta content, says Netscape’s Netcaster product manager Tim Hickman. MCF can also be used to describe when a document was last altered. It is important for Netscape’s business as some sort of layer on which to build websites that run off its servers. No date has been set for discussion between the W3C’s members, but the staff member looking after the proposal, Ralph Swick, previously at the X Consortium, has given it a very warm reception, saying it has come at a very opportune time.