World Wide Web Consortium Issues XML Schema as a W3C Recommendation

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Two Years of Development Produces Comprehensive Solution for XML Vocabularies

Testimonials -- 2 May 2001 -- The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) issues XML Schema as a W3C Recommendation. XML Schemas define shared markup vocabularies, the structure of XML documents which use those vocabularies, and provide hooks to associate semantics with them.

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 Schema Has Arrived

With over two years of development and testing through implementation, XML Schema provides an essential piece for XML to reach its full potential.

"XML Schema makes good on the promises of extensibility and power at the heart of XML," said Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director. "In conjunction with XML Namespaces, XML Schema is the language for building XML applications."

By bringing datatypes to XML, XML Schema increases XML's power and utility to the developers of electronic commerce systems, database authors and anyone interested in using and manipulating large volumes of data on the Web. By providing better integration with XML Namespaces, it makes it easier than it has ever been to define the elements and attributes in a namespace, and to validate documents which use multiple namespaces defined by different schemas.

The XML Schema specification consists of three parts. One part defines a set of simple datatypes, which can be associated with XML element types and attributes; this allows XML software to do a better job of managing dates, numbers, and other special forms of information. The second part of the specification proposes methods for describing the structure and constraining the contents of XML documents, and defines the rules governing schema-validation of documents. The third part is a primer, which explains what schemas are, how they differ from DTDs, and how someone builds a schema.


XML Schema Gives Flexibility, Data Fidelity for Users

XML Schema introduces new levels of flexibility that may accelerate the adoption of XML for significant industrial use. For example, a schema author can build a schema that borrows from a previous schema, but overrides it where new unique features are needed. This principle, called inheritance, is similar to the behavior of Cascading Style Sheets, and allows the user to develop XML Schemas that best suit their needs, without buidling an entirely new vocabulary from scratch.

XML Schema allows the author to determine which parts of a document may be validated, or identify parts of a document where a schema may apply. XML Schema also provides a way for users of ecommerce systems to choose which XML Schema they use to validate elements in a given namespace, thus providing better assurance in ecommerce transactions and greater security against unauthorized changes to validation rules.

Further, as XML Schema are XML documents themselves, they may be managed by XML authoring tools, or through XSLT.

XML Schema Tools Include Validator and Test Suite Collection

W3C, with the University of Edinburgh has co-developed XSV, the XML Schema Validator. The validator has been revised at each stage of XML Schema development and now provides validation against the XML Schema Recommendation. In addition, W3C invites developers to send in sample schemas for a test suite library, to be reviewed and managed by the W3C XML Schema Working Group.

XML Schema Has Broad Support

The working group roster reads as a who's who of information technology leaders in research and industry. The members include: Academia Sinica; Altova GmbH; ArborText, Inc; Bootstrap Alliance and LSU; Calico Commerce; Commerce One; Contivo; Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA); Defense Logistics Information Service; DevelopMentor; Distributed Systems Technology Centre (DSTC Pty Ltd); Graphic Communications Association; Health Level Seven; Hewlett Packard Company; IBM; Informix; Intel; Lexica LLC; Lotus Development Corporation; Microsoft Corporation; Microstar; MITRE; Mozquito Technology; NCR; Oracle Corp.; Progress Software; Rational Software; SAP AG; Software AG; Sun Microsystems; TIBCO Software; University of Edinburgh; webMethods, Inc; Xerox; and XMLSolutions.

Many are committed to current and future product support for the XML Schema Recommendation.

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 Schema Recommendation

Altova, Inc. | Commerce One | IBM | IPR Systems | Lotus Development Corporation | Microsoft Corporation | Oracle Corporation |Reuters, Inc. | SAP AG | webMethods | University of Edinburgh


Altova has been an active supporter of XML Schema from the start, because we believe XML Schema will play an important role in bridging the gap between traditional database-like information and document-like content that is typically expressed using markup languages. This will enable a whole new generation of content and e-business applications fueling both the semantic web and B2B exchange efforts. Altova applauds the advancement of XML Schema to W3C Recommendation and is proud to have been involved in the XML Schema Working Group. Altova already supports the XML Schema Candidate Recommendation in its XML Spy 3.5 IDE product and will introduce updated support for the final Recommendation version of XML Schema in the upcoming XML Spy 4.0 product line later this month.

-- Alexander Falk, President & CEO, Altova, GmBH


Commerce One is extremely pleased to see XML Schema 1.0 advance to Recommendation. XML Schema supports many of the advanced features first introduced by Commerce One's Schema for Object-Oriented XML (SOX), ensuring an easy migration path for SOX users to XML Schema. By providing these advanced capabilities to all users, XML Schema represents an important step for the Web community and electronic commerce in particular. Commerce One is committed to adopting XML Schema in its products. We will shortly provide a version of XML Common Business Library (xCBL) 3.0, the leading, component-based library of XML eCommerce documents, in XML Schema.

-- Dr. Matthew Fuchs, Chief Scientist for XML Technologies, Commerce One


XML Schema is a critical technology for e-business applications and the emergence of web services. IBM is committed to open standards to ensure the interoperability and longevity of the solutions we build for our customers. We have been involved with XML Schema from its beginning in both the specification development and the open source implementations that have tracked the emerging standard. We are pleased to support XML Schema as a W3C Recommendation.

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


IPR Systems is pleased to see the formal approval of the XML Schema recommendation as it provides a key technology for the vision of the new "Semantic Web". XML Schema is a fundamental and new architecture and opens the possibility of revolutionary enhancements in understanding Web resources via structured data and metadata. XML Schema will play a critical role in emerging new digital industries that will work together to delivery the "full potential" of the Web.

-- Dr. Renato Iannella, Chief Scientist, IPR Systems


XML Schema is a significant milestone in the evolution of XML as an industrial strength web services technology. Lotus played a significant role in the development of XML Schema, and we are pleased to support the publication of XML Schema as a W3C Recommendation.

-- Neil Starkey, Chief Technical Officer, Lotus Development Corporation


XML Schema is a significant milestone in the evolution and maturity of XML, and a key enabler of Web services and peer-to-peer computing. Interoperability in a world populated by millions of PCs, smart devices and Web services is only possible when based on rigorously defined data formats and protocols. The opportunities created by XML for businesses and consumers are greatly enhanced by this release of XML Schema. The adoption of XML and XML Schema throughout Microsoft's products and services is at the heart of our .NET vision for Web services.

-- Bill Gates, Chairman and Chief Software Architect, Microsoft Corporation


As both an application suite and information management software provider, Oracle has been actively involved in the definition of XML Schema to meet the needs of e-businesses for information exchange and business process integration. Oracle's early involvement and implementations of XML Schema helps ensure that Oracle's customers benefit from the very latest open XML standards while delivering XML-based B2B applications. In fact, XML Schema is at the core of the native XML support in the Oracle9i(tm) Database, enabling developers to easily and seamlessly manipulate complex XML e-business data using Java and SQL.

-- Andrew Mendelsohn, Senior Vice President of Database and Application Server Technologies, Oracle Corporation


XML Schemas provide us with the ability to clearly and flexibly describe the content of XML messages, allowing us to reliably automate commercial and financial transactions and bring them into the world of "Internet time", including "straight through processing and "T+1" or "T+0" settlement for securities transactions. Reuters will be using XML Schemas as an integral part of its product development, and we thank the W3C for this work, which is an important step in the continuing XML story.

-- Mike Sayers, CTO, Reuters


SAP is pleased to see that XML Schema has become a W3C Recommendation. XML Schema is a key integration technology for supporting tightly coupled business processes through loosely coupled components within and outside of the company boundary and an essential standard for building and leveraging shared knowledge about collaborative services and processes. SAP is committed to embracing XML Schema throughout the e-business platform by providing XML-based services and leveraging XML Schema to support business integration within mySAP Technology.

-- Dr. Peter Barth, Director Corporate Marketing mySAP Technology and mySAP Workplace, SAP AG


We welcome the designation of the W3C XML Schema specifications as official W3C Recommendations. This event is important not only because of the practical benefits it will bring to the World Wide Web, but also because it represents a major success for collaboration between science and industry: The design of XML Schema depends not only on the practical experience of industry, but also on a unique confluence of scientific inputs, from disciplines as diverse as formal language theory, computational linguistics and type theory. We are pleased to have contributed to this work, and are already seeing the benefits of using it in our own research and development activities.

-- Henry S. Thompson, Reader in Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science, Division of Informatics, University of Edinburgh


Exchanging business information is a critical requirement for automating business processes within and between companies. webMethods is pleased to see XML Schema approved as a Recommendation, and to have been an active participation in the development of this standard. XML Schema makes describing, exchanging, and validating business information easier and more flexible. We are proud to have delivered support for the October CR draft in our 4.0 release and will continue to advance our support for this standard.

- Jim Green, Chief Technology Officer, webMethods

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