The World Wide Web Consortium Issues XML 1.0 as a W3C Recommendation

Key Industry Players, Experts Collaborate to Develop Interoperable Data Format for the Web


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CAMBRIDGE, MA, USA -- 10 February, 1998 -- Advancing its mission to lead the Web to its full potential, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) today announced the release of the XML 1.0 specification as a W3C Recommendation. XML 1.0 is the W3C's first Recommendation for the Extensible Markup Language, a system for defining, validating, and sharing document formats on the Web. A W3C Recommendation indicates that a specification is stable, contributes to Web interoperability, and has been reviewed by the W3C Membership, who are in favor of supporting its adoption by the industry. "The development of XML 1.0 illustrates the power of the W3C process," said Dan Connolly, W3C Architecture Domain Leader and XML Activity Lead. "From its inception, W3C has been committed to the evolution of Web data formats. XML is the next step in that evolution and we are proud to have spearheaded this intiative."

XML was created and developed by the W3C XML Working Group, which includes key industry players such as Adobe, ArborText, DataChannel, Inso, Hewlett-Packard, Isogen, Microsoft, NCSA, Netscape, SoftQuad, Sun Microsystems, Texcel, Vignette, and Fuji Xerox; as well as experts in structured documents and electronic publishing. "The commitment of strong competitors such as Sun, HP, Microsoft, and Netscape to work together on an open standard for information exchange has been a remarkable demonstration of cooperation for the common good," said Jon Bosak, Sun's Online Information Technology Architect and Chair of the W3C XML Working Group. "XML represents a key technical advance in web technology, it enables secure electronic commerce on an expanded scale thus ushering in a new generation of distributed applications. However, beyond its technical importance, XML represents a fundamental shift in the relationship between software producers and consumers. XML is an open, human-readable format that does for data what Java does for programs. Together XML and Java provide a platform- and vendor-independent environment that liberates users from proprietary software and hardware architectures. Because it advances document delivery as much as data exchange, XML will alter the competitive landscape not only on the World Wide Web but in electronic and print publishing as well."

Jean Paoli, XML 1.0 specification Co-editor, and Weblications Product Unit Manager at Microsoft Corporation, added: "This is a huge win for the W3C and for everyone who has worked to make XML a reality. XML's use to describe and interchange structured data ensures the rapid evolution of the Web."

XML 1.0

XML 1.0 is a subset of an existing, widely used international text processing standard (Standard Generalized Markup Language, ISO 8879:1986 as amended and corrected) intended for use on the World Wide Web. XML retains ISO 8879's basic features -- vendor independence, user extensibility, complex structures, validation, and human readability -- in a form that is much easier to implement and understand. XML can be processed by existing commercial tools and a rapidly growing number of free ones.

"XML is extensible, internationalized, robust, simple, and built for the Web," said Tim Bray, Principal at Textuality and Co-editor of the XML 1.0 specification. "Its arrival enables whole new classes of application, and is a major step towards fulfilling some of the Internet's unrealized potential."

XML is primarily intended to meet the requirements of large-scale Web content providers for industry-specific markup, vendor-neutral data exchange, media-independent publishing, one-on-one marketing, workflow management in collaborative authoring environments, and the processing of Web documents by intelligent clients. It is also expected to find use in metadata applications. XML is fully internationalized for both European and Asian languages, with all conforming processors required to support the Unicode character set. The language is designed for the quickest possible client-side processing consistent with its primary purpose as an electronic publishing and data interchange format.

"In their need for more intelligent documents and more readily reusable information, the requirements of the industrial sector and those of the academic and research community are surprisingly similar," explained C.M. Sperberg-McQueen, Editor in Chief of the Text Encoding Initiative and Co-Editor of the XML 1.0 specification. "By addressing the needs of both, XML makes a great step forward toward the original goals of the World Wide Web: to embody human knowledge in a form accessible to everyone."

W3C Recommendation Process

Specifications developed within W3C working groups must be formally approved by the Membership. Consensus is reached after a specification has proceeded through the following review stages: Working Draft, Proposed Recommendation, and Recommendation.

Stable working drafts are submitted by working groups to the W3C Director for consideration as a Proposed Recommendation. Upon the Director's approval, the document becomes a "Proposed Recommendation", and is forwarded to the W3C Membership to vote whether it should become an official W3C Recommendation. The W3C Advisory Committee -- comprised of one official representative from each Member organization -- submits one of the following votes on the Proposed Recommendation: yes; yes, with comments; no, unless specified deficiencies are corrected; no, this Proposed Recommendation should be abandoned.

During the Member review and voting period (approximately 6 weeks), the Working Group resolves minor technical issues (if any) and communicates its results to the W3C Director. After this time, the Director announces the disposition of the document; it may become a W3C Recommendation (possibly with minor changes), revert to Working Draft status, or may be dropped as a W3C work item.

The XML 1.0 specification has been produced as part of the W3C XML Activity. Please see attached Fact Sheet and testimonials document for additional information on XML 1.0.

For information on XML in particular, see http://www.w3.org/XML/


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 (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, more than 243 organizations are Members of the Consortium.

For more information about the World Wide Web Consortium, see http://www.w3.org/

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