World Wide Web Consortium Issues XML Information Set as a W3C Recommendation

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XML Infoset Delivers Shared Terms to XML Documents

Testimonials -- 24 October 2001 -- The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) today announced the release of XML Information Set (XML Infoset) as a W3C Recommendation. XML Infoset provides a set of definitions for use in other specifications that need to refer to the information in an XML document. 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 academic, industry, and research communities.

XML Documents Share Common Information Features

As the Extensible Markup Language (XML) is adopted by more people and organizations interested in both providing and processing information, the ability to identify and describe information inside an XML document has evolved into a requirement. XML documents are exchanged, parsed, processed and transformed; the information items inside these documents need to be available to both people and applications.

W3C's XML Core Working Group has worked on a consistent set of definitions for use in other specifications that need to refer to the information in a well-formed XML document, and has produced the XML Infoset Recommendation.

XML Infoset Describes Information Features in XML Documents

Every well-formed XML document which conforms to XML Namespaces has an information set. An XML document's information set consists of a number of information items. These items are abstract descriptions of some part of an XML document, such as elements and attributes. Each information item then has a set of associated named properties.

XML Infosets may be created either by parsing an XML document, or by other methods including the use of an API such as the Document Object Model (DOM).

XML Infoset Adds Coherence to XML Family of Specifications

Over the past year, the W3C XML Activity has produced a number of XML Recommendations which add to the robustness and the utility of XML, including XML Schema, XML Base, XML Linking, and other established W3C XML recommendations such as XSLT.

XML developers needed a set of concepts and definitions that would tie these specifications together more closely; the XML Information Set was produced to fulfill that role. XML specifications can now be described in terms of the way they operate on XML Infosets. XML Infosets ensure that existing and upcoming architectural XML recommendations will be defined, described, and possibly implemented in more interoperable ways, thereby lending interoperable and extensible features to XML and the growing world of applications which make use of XML documents and data.

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, and various prototype and sample applications to demonstrate use of new technology. To date, over 510 organizations are Members of the Consortium. For more information see


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Testimonials for XML Information Set Recommendation


The use of XML by our customers has grown rapidly over the last three years and so it is important that any consumer of an XML document has an unambiguous understanding of the information in that document. XML Infoset is the key standard that provides the identification and description of information inside an XML document in a coherent manner. IBM is pleased to have contributed to its development within the W3C.

-- Bob Sutor, Director of e-business Standards Strategy, IBM

Markup Technology Ltd.

Markup Technology Ltd. welcomes the publication of the XML Infoset Recommendation. We see it as providing a solid basis for describing the behaviour and interaction of XML processing applications. We expect infosets to play an important role in any products which support the integration of multiple XML processing steps.

-- Henry Thompson, Managing Director, Markup Technology Ltd.

Microsoft Corporation

Microsoft welcomes the XML Information Set as a W3C Recommendation. The potential the XML Information Set has for driving consistency between specifications is already evident in emerging work such as the XQuery 1.0 and XPath 2.0 Data Model, SOAP 1.2, and XInclude 1.0. The XML Information Set draws an important baseline which consists of XML 1.0, Namespaces in XML, and XML Base.

-- Jonathan Marsh, Program Manager, Microsoft Corporation

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