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  1. XML September 23, 2000 IMA Northeast Regional Council Neal Hannon, CMA

  2. What is XML andwhat does it mean toe-commerce?

  3. David Turner, Product Manager, Microsoft ''The introduction of XML is in many ways like the creation of writing in the evolution of language. People had spoken language for a long period before they got to the point of inventing writing. But as soon as they did, they were able to make huge steps forward.''

  4. “It's just a compromise everyone can live with for structuring data.” XML developer, David Megginson

  5. What is XML? • XML means “Extensible Markup Language” • extensible - not fixed format like HTML • XML is a metalanguage - a language for describing other languages • Enables you to define your own customized markup languages for different classes of documents

  6. What is XML? (cont.) • Abbreviated version of SGML • IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and Sun all agree: XML is the key to e-business • XML enables business application sharing, direct transactions and other business applications.

  7. What is SGML? • SGML is the international standard for defining descriptions of the structure and content of different types of electronic documents • A universal language used to describe thousands of different data types

  8. What is HTML? • HTML is HyperText Markup Language, a specific application of SGML used on the World Wide Web • A simple, fixed type of document. Markup designed for simple reports with provisions for hypertext links and multimedia

  9. What is XML? (cont.) • XML: Heir apparent to electronic data interchange (EDI) as primary means for executing business transactions over the internet • If XML schemas became widely adapted, data could be extracted from a multitude of similar reports on the net

  10. What is XML? (cont.) • Report mining (searching for data in a report, applying rules and triggering actions) becomes practical • Extensible Forms Definition Language (XFDL) • Designed for complex business forms over the Internet

  11. Why is XML used? • Designed for ease-of-use with Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) • Goal is to enable SGML to be served, received and processed beyond what is now possible with HTML

  12. Who is responsible for XML? • XML is a project of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C); development is supervised by W3C’s XML Working Group • Open-Sourced; formal W3C recommendation since Feb. 1998

  13. Why is XML important? • Removes two constraints holding back Web development: (1) Dependence on a single, inflexible document type - HTML (2) The complexity of full SGML, whose syntax allows many powerful, but hard-to-program, options

  14. Why is XML important?(cont) • HTML is at the limit of its usefulness as a way of describing information • HTML will continue to play an important role for content • Many new applications will require a more robust and flexible infrastructure

  15. Why is XML important?(cont) • Information content can be richer and easier to use because the hypertext linking abilities of XML are greater than those of HTML • XML supports XLink, XPointer and XPath • Enables location of remote resources, anchors and targets, and complex harmonies

  16. XML vs. EDI • Electronic Document Interchange (EDI) has been used in e-commerce for many years • EDI exchanges documents between commercial partners regarding a transaction • EDI requires special proprietary software, but EDI data will soon travel inside XML

  17. XML vs. EDI (cont) • EDI failed to become the universal data description language due to its high cost and complexity, blocking small businesses • EDI-to-XML and XML-to-EDI translation is already taking place, ebXML group taking the lead

  18. What does XML mean for e-commerce? (cont) • Companies running different accounting and business management applications will exchange documents in a cross-system flow • ebXML is mapping business processes to facilitate XML to XML B2B

  19. XML Organizations • Over 250 XML industry efforts documented by Robin Cover at •,, • UDDI: Facilities XML to XML exchanges • XBRL: The Business Reporting Language