XML going mainstream

Ron Resnick (resnick@interlog.com)
Tue, 02 Dec 1997 14:24:20 +0200


>Microsoft CEO Bill Gates recently said that XML will be the data format
>for Office and HTML will be the display standard.

wow. that's pretty cool, if it's true.


Vendors to push XML as all-purpose Web middleware format

By Lynda Radosevich
InfoWorld Electric

Posted at 6:30 AM PT, Dec 1, 1997
Vendors are gearing up to make a business case next week for using the
Extensible Markup Language (XML) as an all-purpose data format for
Web-based middleware. At Internet World '97, in New York, and at
Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML)/XML '97, in Washington,
DataChannel will announce an effort to integrate XML, which has
emerged as a significant meta-data standard, with established Microsoft

Nicknamed "Project TeXas," the effort lets DataChannel's
ChannelManager convert Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SQL Server,
Windows NT
directory, and various e-mail programs to the XML format.
ChannelManager can then publish the XML files to desktops running
Internet Explorer 4.0 and
eventually to Netscape Navigator desktops, according to David Pool,
DataChannel president.

Microsoft may also participate in the DataChannel announcement. The
company is expected to discuss its plans to use XML as the data format
for its Office
applications, and about upcoming XML query language and repository

Microsoft CEO Bill Gates recently said that XML will be the data
format for Office and HTML will be the display standard.

Meanwhile, Netscape is focusing on using XML to improve navigation of
complex data structures, network drives, or local drives. Netscape is
an interface component, nicknamed "Aurora," that displays XML
meta-data content, such as directory headings and search indexes, in a
tree structure
derived from the Resource Description Framework (RDF).

Microsoft doesn't have a rival to Aurora nor does Explorer support
RDF. But the DataChannel effort could help fill the void by letting
Explorer display
XML meta-data content from a variety of native data and file formats.

"[Vendors] are doing the right things in terms of tools and
technologies," said J.P. Morgenthal, an analyst at NC.Focus, in Hewlett,
N.Y. "But what's still
missing is the XML business case."

That business case will materialize when industry groups standardize
on XML meta data to describe data for market segments.

"The work under way now is defining the application-specific or
industry-specific meta models. These things have to be defined before
the promise of XML
is realized," said Michael Goulde, a senior consultant at the Patricia
Seybold Group, in Boston.

Also missing is a clear direction from Microsoft on a repository
strategy for holding the XML meta data. Company officials were
unavailable to comment.

At least one user is excited about using XML meta data for Web

"If XML catches on its going to make my life a hell of lot easier,"
said John Balestrieri, director of technology at K2 Design, a Web design
company in New
York. "The Web is becoming more and more of a content management
problem, and that's a really useful content management solution."