XML.com: XML, Standards and You

“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

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