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XML.com: XML, Standards and You

Apr 16, 2000, 20:03 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Edd Dumbill)

"Unusually among fashionable technologies, XML had its very genesis in a standards organization. Because of this, its current use and future development are inextricably tied with the world of standards and standard-makers. The wranglings and decisions of those involved in XML standards have a very real and lasting effect on developers--not to mention business, the Web at large, and ultimately the end-user."

"The key promise of XML--interoperability of data--rests on there being a high degree of conformance to an agreed-upon standard. Transgressors of these standards run the risk of either being ignored or, if they are influential enough, corrupting the goal of interoperability. Add to this the intimate ties between XML and the future of the Web itself, and the issue of standards becomes yet more significant."

"By this point, if you have more than a passing familiarity with the World Wide Web Consortium, you doubtlessly will be getting ready to write to me saying, "But they're not 'standards,' they're 'recommendations'." This is true enough. There's no governmental regulation on the Web for standards-conformance. The best that bodies such as the W3C can do is make recommendations and build consensus."

"In fact, "standard" has become somewhat of an abused term. Some groups, eager to get adoption for their technologies, are badging them as "standards" in order to establish their credibility...."

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