Microsoft, IBM Get XML To Users

IBM and Microsoft Corp. are working to extend XML support to databases and through tools that simplify development in the emerging technology for moving data in Web applications.

IBM (IBM), which supports Extensible Markup Language in its WebSphere application server, plans to extend that support to DB2 this year through an XML extender. For its part, Microsoft (MSFT) is considering adding a COM (Component Object Model) object to SQL Server that would convert SQL's relational data to an XML format.

The companies said such moves will spur adoption of the language by making it easier for IT shops to integrate XML into applications that require data sharing.

"XML development is really going to happen when companies upgrade their tools," said David Lineman, Internet specialist for Houston-based Enron Oil and Gas Co. "There are a lot of potential XML applications, but I need the right tool."

In addition to adding XML to DB2, IBM said support within Lotus Development Corp.'s Domino application server is also possible. Such a move would provide compatibility between Web applications and a broad range of browsers, IBM officials said.

An XML extender would provide the methods needed to query the database for XML documents, which could be delivered directly to a browser, said Jeff Jones, IBM program manager for data management marketing, in Armonk, N.Y. "What we're basically doing is giving DB2 added intelligence to manage text in the form of XML," Jones said.

However, converting current data to the XML format would probably be left up to the customer, with IBM recommending third-party tools capable of performing the conversion.

At Microsoft, in Redmond, Wash., the addition of an XML conversion COM for SQL Server is a possibility, said Dave Wascha, product manager for platform marketing.

Microsoft tools such as the Visual InterDev Web site development tool would map an application to the XML conversion layer automatically, Wascha said.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has been working with DataChannel Inc., of Bellevue, Wash., to develop an all-Java XML parser, which will be available in Beta 2 through DataChannel later this month.

IBM and Lotus have made available for free from IBM's AlphaWorks Web site the LotusXSL processor, which is used to provide the presentation layer of XML-formatted data.

Source: ZDNet


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