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

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

Testimonials -- 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 experts.

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 testimonials.


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


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Testimonials for XSL Transformations (XSLT) and XML Path Language (XPath)

Adobe Systems | Arbortext, Inc. | Bitstream Inc. | DataChannel | Datalogics, Inc. | Enigma Inc. | IBM Corporation | Infoteria, Inc. | Interleaf, Inc. | Lotus Development Corporation | Microsoft Corporation | Netscape Communications | RivCom


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 business 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, DataChanneladdress


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 a leading developer of XML processing engines, tools and solutions, Infoteria is proud to participate in today's W3C's XSLT announcement. Infoteria is committed to a full and complete implementation of the XSLT/XPath specification. Infoteria plans to ship iXSLT, the first full-featured commercial XSLT processing engine within 60 days of Recommendation. Future Infoteria products and solutions, including the next version of iConnector and iMessenger, will fully implement the final XSLT/XPath specification.

--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

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