Sun, Adobe offer bounty for XSL
By Paul Festa
Staff Writer, CNET News.com
March 9, 1999, 1:25 p.m. PT
SAN JOSE, California--In an attempt to jump-start XSL development, Sun
Microsystems and Adobe are putting up $90,000 in bounties for
independent developers who come up with specific XSL implementations.
Sun's Jon Bosak, chair of the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) XML
coordination group, alluded to the prizes during his keynote
presentation at the XTech 99 conference here. Bosak said the companies
would formally announce the prizes next month.
Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL) is a W3C working draft that allows
Web developers to apply formatting rules to XML documents. XSL allows
for information about the formatted document's structure,
differentiating between body, title, chapter, table of contents, and the
The companies will reveal the winning implementations at the Graphic
Communications Association's XML 99 conference, scheduled for the first
week of December. The firms plan to eventually put the winning
technologies in the public domain.
XSL is made up of two main parts. The first is a transformation language
that lets content be reordered, refiltered, or translated into a new set
of tags--from XML to HTML, for example.
The second part of XSL is its formatting language, and it is this area
that Sun and Adobe's incentive prizes are meant to stimulate.
Sun will put up $30,000 for implementations of XSL to be added to the
Mozilla.org open source effort, developing the source code to Netscape
Communications' Communicator browser. This implementation would be a
plug-in that would provide XSL formatting capabilities for the Mozilla
browser and would fall under the Mozilla public license.
The move reflects Sun's relationship with Netscape and America Online.
After AOL completes the acquisition, it plans to partner with Sun to
market Netscape's enterprise software.
The second set of prizes, funded in part by Adobe, will provide a
$40,000 first prize and a $20,000 second prize for a print-oriented
batch formatter written in Sun's Java programming language and that
supports Adobe's portable document format (PDF). The batch formatter
will let a printer process information from style sheets when printing
batches of data.
Sun and Adobe's move with XSL development comes as more and more
companies are turning to worldwide communities of developers to produce
publicly available technologies, often through open source efforts such
as Mozilla.org. Software firms are finding that there's nothing like an
open source project to muster sheer numbers of programmers to tackle a
Programmers often contribute to open source or public domain software
efforts out of a sense of cooperation that fostered much of the
Internet's early development, or to be recognized for their work. But
with the contests mentioned today, Sun and Adobe have added an unusual
"The idea is to put the code out there so that people can use it," Bosak
Aaahhhh... nothing like a fine breakfast of snapple, cheetos, and
-- Rohit Khare