W3C issues XSLT and XPath as Recommendations

Sally Khudairi (sk@zotgroup.com)
Tue, 16 Nov 1999 12:19:31 -0500

World Wide Web Consortium Issues XSL Transformations (XSLT)
and XML Path Language (XPath) as Recommendations

Two specifications work to transform XML documents and data, supporting
presentations and device independence

Contact America --
Janet Daly, <janet@w3.org>, +1.617.253.5884
Contact Europe --
Josef Dietl, <jdietl@w3.org>, +
Contact Asia --
Yuko Watanabe <yuko@w3.org>, +81.466.49.1170

http://www.w3.org/ -- 16 November 1999 -- The World Wide Web Consortium
(W3C) today releases two specifications, XSL Transformations (XSLT) and
XML Path Language (XPath), as W3C Recommendations. These new
specifications represent cross-industry and expert community agreement
on technologies that will enable the transformation and styled
presentation of XML documents. A W3C Recommendation indicates that a
specification is stable, contributes to Web interoperability, and has
been reviewed by the W3C membership, who favor its adoption by the industry.

"Anyone using XML can now take advantage of XSLT, a powerful new tool
for manipulating, converting or styling documents," declared Tim
Berners-Lee, W3C Director. "XPath adds a simple way of referring to
parts of an XML document. Together, they strike a fine balance between
simplicity of use and underlying power."

XSLT and XPath Add Strength, Flexibility to XML Architecture

As more content publishers and commercial interests deliver rich data in
XML, the need for presentation technology increases in both scale and
functionality. XSL meets the more complex, structural formatting demands
that XML document authors have.

XSLT makes it possible for one XML document to be transformed into
another according to an XSL Style sheet. As part of the document
transformation, XSLT uses XPath to address parts of an XML document that
an author wishes to transform. XPath is also used by another XML
technology, XPointer, to specify locations in an XML document. "What
we've learned in developing XPath will serve other critical XML
technologies already in development," noted Daniel Veillard, W3C Staff
contact for the XML Linking Working Group.

Together, XSLT and XPath make it possible for XML documents to be
reformatted according to the parameters of XSL style sheets and increase
presentation flexibility into the XML architecture.

Device Independent Delivery of XML Documents

Separating content from presentation is key to the Web's extensibility
and flexibility. "As the Web develops into a structured data space, and
the tools used to access the Web grow more varied, the need for
flexibility in styling and structure is essential," explained Vincent
Quint, W3C User Interface Domain Leader and staff contact for the XSL
Working Group. "With XSLT and XPath, we're closer to delivering rich,
structured data content to a wider range of devices."

Broad Industry Support, Multiple Implementations Already Available

The XSLT Recommendation was written and developed by the XSL Working
Group, which includes key industry players such as Adobe Systems,
Arbortext, Bell Labs, Bitstream, Datalogics, Enigma, IBM, Interleaf,
Lotus, Microsoft, Novell, Oracle, O'Reilly & Associates, RivCom,
SoftQuad Inc, Software AG, and Sun Microsystems. Notable contributions
also came from the University of Edinburgh and a range of invited

The XPath Recommendation pooled together efforts from both the XSL
Working Group and the XML Linking Working Group, whose membership
includes CommerceOne, CWI, DATAFUSION, Fujitsu, GMD, IBM, Immediate
Digital, Microsoft, Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Textuality, and the
University of Southampton.

The creators of XML documents now have a variety of open source and
commercial tools which support XSLT and XPath. In addition, many W3C
members who reviewed the specifications have committed to
implementations in upcoming products, indicated in the wide range of

About the World Wide Web Consortium [W3C]

The W3C was created to lead the Web to its full potential by developing
common protocols that promote its evolution and ensure its
interoperability. It is an international industry consortium jointly run
by the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science (MIT LCS) in the USA, the
National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control (INRIA)
in France and Keio University in Japan. Services provided by the
Consortium include: a repository of information about the World Wide Web
for developers and users, reference code implementations to embody and
promote standards, and various prototype and sample applications to
demonstrate use of new technology. To date, over 370 organizations are
Members of the Consortium. For more information see



As an active member of the XSL Working Group, Adobe is very pleased to
see both the XSL Transformations (XSLT) and XML Path Language (XPath)
specifications become official W3C Recommendations. XSLT is an important
tool for mapping XML encoded data and documents into a form suitable for
presentation. We are particularly pleased with the integration of XSLT
patterns and the XPointer referencing mechanism in XPath. This sharing
of technology across
specifications greatly simplifies implementations and usage. Together,
these recommendations will expand the range of XML material that can be
presented on the Web.
--Tom Malloy, Vice President, Advanced Technology Group,
Adobe Systems

Arbortext, Inc., a leading provider of XML-based e-Content software, is
a strong supporter of open standards. With XSLT and XPath,
organizations can target the desired source material and transform the
data to fit that material, thereby enabling the sharing of business
applications among customers and partners. We are excited with the
progress the W3C is making on these XML-related standards and will
continue to work within the W3C for their further development. Arbortext
has included initial support for XSL in its most recent software
release, and we are committed to continuing our support in subsequent
releases as the rest of the XSL work is completed. We are pleased with
the progress the W3C is making toward standards to enable companies to
use XML both to publish information to the Web and as a data interchange
among busines applications.
--Paul Grosso, Vice President of Research, Arbortext, Inc.

We have a vision of an XML-based cross media publishing architecture,
and believe that XSLT is an important step in that direction,
especially for dynamic Web content creation and delivery. We look
forward to continued work with the W3C to evolve XSL and make it as
useful for publishing XML content to print as it currently is in
publishing to the Web. Bitstream's
Pageflex subsidiary plans to integrate XSLT and XPath into MPower, its
personalized marketing communications automation software product.
--Paul Trevithick, President, Bitstream, Inc.

DataChannel is excited about XSLT and XPath. Our entire product line is
developed using open standards such as XML and XSL. For us this is an
important milestone as it provides us, a leading vendor of XML based
enterprise information portals, with another set of stable standards on
which we can base our product development and services offerings.
--Norbert Mikula, Chief Technology Officer, DataChannel

Datalogics enthusiastically supports the XSLT and XPath recommendations.
We see these as solid components in the emerging XML technological
infrastructure that will support the sophisticated document composition
and styling that our customers demand. As the leader in high-volume,
high-speed document composition systems, Datalogics is proud to have
contributed its expertise to the development of these technologies.
--Kevin McNeill, VP Marketing, Datalogics, Inc.

Enigma and many of our customers have been eagerly waiting for the
completion of the various technologies associated with XML. With each
new piece we have stronger capabilities for intelligent publishing,
allowing us to use existing information in new ways. We applaud the
efforts of the W3C Working Groups in completing XSLT and XPath.
--Karl F. Best, Director of Product Marketing, Enigma Inc.

XSLT and XPath make it possible to transform and display XML everywhere
which is vital to open standards computing and the evolution of
e-business technolog. IBM is excited to see a language evolve that gives
both programmers and non-programmers the ability to manipulate and
present XML for broad use within the enterprise.
--Marie Wieck, Director of XML Technology, IBM Corporation

As the leading developer of XML processing engines and tools, Infoteria
is proud to participate in today's XSLT announcement. Infoteria is
committed to implement XSLT/XPath as a core specification extending the
power and flexibility of XML with transforming the data to any other
structures and schemas. Infoteria plans to ship iXSLT, the first
full-featured commercial XSLT processing engine within 60 days from
Recommendation. Future Infoteria products, including next version of
iConnector and iMessenger, will implement final specification of XSLT/XPath.
--Pina Hirano, President and CEO, Infoteria Inc.

Interleaf is proud to be working with the W3C and we commend the release
of XSLT and Xpath to Recommendation Status. As an early pioneer in
exploiting the use of XSL technologies in our XML-based BladeRunner(TM)
content management solution, we recognize XSL's tremendous importance as
a key enabler for the next generation World Wide Web. We are
particularly excited about integrating this technology into our products
to deliver customized content to the rapidly growing number users of
Web-enabled mobile and wireless devices.
--Barry Briggs, Chief Technology Officer, Interleaf, Inc.

Lotus applauds the XSLT and XPath recommendations. We regard these
technologies as key to transcending the Web's presentation-based formats
with an architecture based on discoverable information and the open
exchange of e-business data and knowledge. XSLT can greatly simplify the
process of presenting rich information to non-PC devices. The LotusXSL
processor for XSLT, which was recently released as open source under the
aegis of the Apache Software Foundation, is crucial to IBM's support for
pervasive devices. At Lotus, we fully plan to integrate XSLT and XPath
into Lotus software products including the Domino application platform.
--Alex Morrow, Lotus Fellow, Advanced Technology Group,
Lotus Development Corporation

As one of the original contributors to the XSL specification, Microsoft
has shown a strong commitment throughout the development process. Broad
customer adoption of the pre-REC XSL support in Internet Explorer 5 has
shown XSL to be an important piece of the XML architecture. The release
of XSLT and XPath mean developers now have powerful, standards-based
tools for processing XML and we are committed to delivering this power
to our developers.
--Adam Bosworth, General Manager, Microsoft Corporation

As an active member of the W3C, Netscape is very pleased by the release
of the XSLT and XPath specifications as W3C Recommendations. We plan to
implement this specification in a future version of Netscape Navigator.
Together with other standards like HTML, DOM, CSS, XML, RDF, and
Netscape's standardized scripting technology, JavaScript, XSLT/XPath
will enable richer content and more exciting user experiences on the Web
and on Netscape Netcenter.
-- Jim Hamerly, Vice President of Client Products,
Netscape Communications , a subsidiary of America OnLine Inc.

RivCom sees the XSLT and XPath specifications as crucially important for
the design and development of the Web-based software applications of the
future. The XML Recommendation opened the way to the storage and
exchange of content as hierarchically structured data. With XPath and
XSLT we now have tools both to navigate and query into that data, and to
transform it. The integration of these and other tools within higher
level tool-sets will enable as yet unheard of possibilities of services
and connectivity on the Web.

RivCom is proud to have participated in the development of these
exciting new possibilities. We have already been putting these
specifications to powerfully effective use within projects such as the
European XML/EDI Pilot Project. The W3C is to be congratulated on
bringing such exciting fruit out of a development process built on the
principles of open information exchange and consensus-based specifications.
-- Boris Moore, Principal Architect, RivCom