XML Takes Another StepThe World Wide Web Consortium has placed another finishing touch on a next-generation markup language that one day may usurp HTML as the scaffolding of the Web.
The Web standards body on Thursday issued the Namespaces in XML specification as a W3C Recommendation -- the equivalent of a Web standard.
"This recommendation is engineering to make the Web capable of evolving -- not just good, but capable of becoming ever better," says consortium director Tim Berners-Lee.
The new spec will allow Web-site developers to begin building pages with the eXtensible Markup Language. The standard allows them to mix two or more XML-based languages in a single document without any conflict or ambiguity, the consortium said.
"The only reasons you put tags in a document is so programs can do something with them," said Tim Bray, an independent programmer and co-editor of the XML 1.0 specification, which was recommended as a standard by the W3C in February 1998.
"The big question is how does the computer find the right tags it is supposed to process and which ones it's not? The whole idea with [the Namespaces spec] is to label documents with the right tags so computer software can use the ones that apply to it and ignore the ones that don't," he said.
While HTML is used to instruct Web browsers on the look, feel, and content of a Web page, XML describes the information that page contains, from paragraphs to pictures to headlines.
The markup tags of the language can describe a paragraph about cars, for example, or categorize a document as a political essay. It can also be used to describe the elements of an illustration -- such as an oval or a curve and where these components should appear and what their properties should be.
If the format takes off, and XML becomes a universal format for structuring data, everything from classified ads to news articles to recipes to search engines will be more orderly and the Web will be a more useful place, XML advocates hope.
"As the Web gets bigger, new technology must be able to move slowly from invention in a small community to global adoption," Berners-Lee said. "And that must be possible without anyone having to recode existing applications to meet the new standard."
Wired News Report
|Home, Links, Awards, Help, Map, Poll, Newsgroups, Online Chat, Mailing List, Search|
|Tips & Tricks||Guides||Bugs & Fixes||Themes||Reviews||Site Contents||ActiveIE|
1998-1999 The Active Network. All rights reserved.