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XML. September 23, 2000 IMA Northeast Regional Council Neal Hannon, CMA. What is XML and what does it mean to e-commerce?. David Turner, Product Manager, Microsoft.

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September 23, 2000

IMA Northeast Regional Council

Neal Hannon, CMA

david turner product manager microsoft
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.''

“It's just a compromise everyone can live with for structuring data.”

XML developer, David Megginson

what is xml
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
what is xml cont
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.
what is sgml
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
what is html
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
what is xml cont9
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
what is xml cont10
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
why is xml used
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
who is responsible for xml
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
why is xml important
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

why is xml important cont
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
why is xml important cont15
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
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
xml vs edi cont
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
what does xml mean for e commerce cont
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
xml organizations
XML Organizations
  • Over 250 XML industry efforts documented by Robin Cover at
  • UDDI: Facilities XML to XML exchanges
  • XBRL: The Business Reporting Language