• Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint

More Popular Than MTV

Why has XML seized the imagination of so many disparate manufacturers and found its way into their products? XML combines standardization with extensibility (the power to customize), transformability (the power to convert data from one format to another), and relatively seamless data exchange between one XML application or XML-aware software product and another.

As an open standard unencumbered by patents or royalties, XML blows away outdated, proprietary formats with limited acceptance and built-in costs. The W3C charges no fee when you incorporate XML into your software product or roll your own custom XML-based language. Moreover, acceptance of XML is viral. The more vendors who catch the XML bug, the faster it spreads to other vendors, and the easier it becomes to pass data from one manufacturer's product to another's.

Plus, XML works. Gone are the days when your office mates considered you a guru if you were able to beat plain, tab-delimited text out of one product and import it into another (often with some data loss and much manual reformatting). XML helps vendors build products whose interoperability empowers consumers to work smarter, not harder. Consumers respond with their pocketbooks.

Not a Panacea, But Plays One on TV

We're not saying that XML is a panacea for all software problems. The data in a JPEG is much better expressed in binary format than as text. Nor are we claiming that every software package on the market “gets” XML, although most professional applications and many consumer products do, and their numbers are continually growing. We're not even saying that all software that claims to support XML does so flawlessly. But flawlessly implemented or not, XML has transformed the software industry along with the workplace.

Even the makers of products that don't support XML seem to believe they should. In April 2002, distressed by lackluster sales and a fragmented middleware market, a group of interactive television and technology providers banded together under the banner of the iTV Production Standards Initiative. Its mission: to unveil and shore up support for an XML-based standard intended to “allow producers to write interactive content once and distribute it to all major set-top box and PC platforms” (www.allnetdevices.com/developer/news/2002/04/09/itv_firms.html).

Sound familiar? It's exactly what The Web Standards Project had to say about W3C standards during the browser wars of the mid- to late 1990s.

  • Creative Edge
  • Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint