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December 8, 1997updated 03 Sep 2016 6:57pm


By CBR Staff Writer

The World Wide Web consortium (W3C) has put version 1.0 of an XML Extensible Markup Language specification out for review and voting by its membership, a process expected to be complete within six weeks. The XML language is a version of the ISO- standardized SGML Standard Generalized Markup Language designed for use on the web and is being regarded as the successor to HTML HyperText Markup Language which has been bedeviled by problems of incompatibility largely because of proprietary extensions added by web browser companies. The XML specification, co-authored by Tim Bray and Jean Paoli retains SGML’s basic features in a form that is easier to implement and understand and is backwards compatible with most features of HTML. ComputerWire’s web developers say XML provides a proper structure for innovation, and what’s more, promises to give control of the web page back to the writer, freeing it from the warring browsers that have held it hostage for far too long. Microsoft and Netscape have already pledged to support XML in their browsers, though observers say that most products which have implemented draft XML specifications will have to be upgraded to incorporate minor changes W3C made between the draft and 1.0 forms. Netscape’s work, called Gemini, provides a JavaBean that adds XML support to its products. It’s said to do HTML and XML rendering in its beta form and will do XML editing when the production version ships next year.

Linking, style sheets

Next on W3C’s extensive language agenda is XLL, an XML language linking extension which will supposedly expand on HTML’s simple unidirectional hyperlinks and, for instance, allowing XML documents to call up non-XML documents, and allow them to be commented – whether the author wants them to be or not – in a third document. It will also apparently manage the forest of hyperlinks that can be created but by their very intricacy are almost impossible to monitor. Meantime, and XSL Extensible Style Language extension to XML describing a format for XML style sheets is likely to be spun out to a separate working group. An XSL spec has been proposed by ArborText Inc, Inso Corp and Microsoft Corp – ArborText will demonstrate its implementation of the spec – its Cedar project – at Internet World this week. XSL is said to separate form from content in XML and HTML documents and tells a web browser how to present information that is stored in a media-independent format. ArborText says many documents stored in a variety of forms can be automatically translated on- the-fly into XML and that XSL will enable those documents to be published directly on to the web.

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