Current status of the XML family of drafts.

I Find Karma (
Fri, 8 May 1998 04:58:04 -0700

This is just what I've pieced together from talking with the usual
suspects at XML'98 and WWW7. Feel free to correct me anywhere I'm
-- Adam

On February 10, 1998, the Extensible Markup Language (XML) 1.0 syntax
became a W3C recommendation; see

At WWW7, Tim Bray rattled off a few dozen really good XML-related web
pages. His slides are at

and I'll mention all the links Tim mentioned at the end of this post.
But first I want to hit the latest developments in XLink, XPointer,
DOM, XSL, Namespaces in XML, and (yuck) the XML Data note...

Based on Eve Maler's developer day talk at WWW7, the name "XLL" was
dropped (because, the folklore goes, it was hard to stay), so XML
linking split into two parts. The first part, XLink, is the linking
language that governs linking from XML to anything. Their latest
working draft was released March 3, 1998 at

The second part, XPointer, provides advanced addressing into XML
document structures -- the linking language that governs linking to XML
from anything. Their latest working draft was also released March 3,
1998 (same editors as XLink) at

and of course Robin Cover has expanded his wonderfully excessive list of
goodies to include XLink and XPointer goodies

This is still a relatively new page, and I find it kind of funny that he
put it under the sgml directory.

Based on Lauren Wood's developer day talk at WWW7, the DOM specification
defines a programmatic interface for XML and HTML, and is separated into
three parts: Core, HTML, and XML. Looks like DOM is stabilizing -- the
level one is almost finished (including navigation and content and
structure manipulation). Incorporating events and styles, among other
things, will come next. So far the specification has language bindings
for Java and ECMA Script, and uses OMG IDL for specs. A new version of
the DOM specification was released on April 16, 1998 at

Based on Steve Zilles' developer day talk at WWW7, Extensible Style
Sheets is still in its nascent stage and after flirting with names like
XSS and XS has picked XSL as its preferred name. The goal of XSL is to
have XML syntax and be based on both DSSSL and CSS. XSL pulls from CSS:
browser-based presentation, color, font description and "web fonts", and
aural CSS. XSL pulls from DSSSL: multi-column text, multiple writing
directions (e.g., vertical), footnotes, page templates, headers, and
footers. Read about the latest XSL developments at

but as far as I can ascertain, they won't release a requirements
document for another month or so, with the goal of getting a working
draft out sometime in July or August. They're aiming to become a
proposed recommendation around May 1999 (in time for WWW8, I guess).

XML-Data's W3C note came out January 5, 1998 at

and I'm not sure what its status is. Any resemblance to Microsoft
Office data types is purely coincidental.

Moving on, after (I surmise) much heated debate the Namespaces in XML
spec came out March 27, 1998 at

Not sure how much namespaces in XML are still open to debate. For
example, look at the "xml-bind" by Rick Jelliffe released March 16, 1998
as an alternative to links from types and names

As an aside, Rick's got some other interesting things there too, such as
his cut-and-paste infrastructure for XML

I have in my notebook that Rick links to XML schema stuff (either James
Tauber or Rohit Khare told me this, I'm not sure which) but I can't find
it. Anyone who can fill in links to XML schema stuff, feel free to post.

Now, as promised earlier, below are the links from Tim Bray's developer
day talk at WWW7 in Brisbane, April 1998. His slides are at

General Info - XML's home base at the W3C

General Info - Robin Cover's XML page

General Info - O'Reilly and Seybold

General Info - Peter Flynn's XML FAQ

Sample Data - Jon Bosak's Shakespeare and Religion texts

Sample Data - James Clark's well-formedness test suite

Sample Data - EU documents in 11 languages

The Spec - official version available in HTML, RTF, PS, PDF, and XML

The Spec - Tim Bray's excellent annotated version Annotated version

XML Processor in Java - Aelfred, from Microstar; small (25k),
non-validating, non-conformant

XML Processor in Java - DXP, from DataChannel; large, validating

XML Processor in Java - Lark/Larval, from Tim Bray; smallish (45K),
validating, highly conformant, good error messages

XML Processor in Java - MSXML, from Microsoft; validating, smallish
(less than 100K), a little behind the spec right now

XML Processor in Java - XML for Java, from IBM Japan; large,
incrementally validating

XML Processor in Java - XP, from James Clark; large, fast,
non-validating, highly conformant

XML Processor in C - Expat, from James Clark; Unbelievably fast, highly
conformant, non-validating, integrated with Mozilla and Perl

XML Processor in C - LTXML, from Henry Thompson and LTG Group at
University of Edinburgh; non-validating, optimized for pipeline/stream

XML Processor in C - MSXML, from Microsoft; non-validating, inside IE4

XML Processor in Tcl - from ANU

XML Processor in Python - from Lars Marius Garshol

XML Processor in JavaScript - XParse, less than 5K of JavaScript

APIs for XML - SAX (Simple API for XML) from David Megginson and the
xml-dev gang; event-stream based, mostly for Java

APIs for XML - DOM (Document Object Model), a W3C Activity;
language-independent, platform-independent, covers HTML and CSS, too;
bindings in Java, ECMAScript, and IDL; Microsoft and Netscape both on board

Avoid the Parser, Use Perl - XML::Parser module for perl 5, work in
progress; Perl is getting Unicode support in parallel with this activity

How to Author XML for Free - PSGML-mode for GNU Emacs, adapted for XML

How to Author XML for Free - Tim Bray's XML-mode for GNU Emacs

(email Tim for this)

How to Author XML for Free - Henry Thompson's XED mini-editor

How to Author XML and Pay For It - Adobe FrameMaker, XML export

How to Author XML and Pay For It - ArborText, existing SGML vendor

How to Author XML and Pay For It - SoftQuad, existing SGML vendor

Delivering XML - Inso DynaText, DynaBase, DynaWeb. Native
SGML/XML viewing and HTML query/generation

Delivering XML - in Microsoft IE4

Delivering XML - in Netscape Mozilla

Delivering XML - SoftQuad's Panorama; native SGML/XML viewing

Lastly, I'd just like to point to our XML and YML pages here...

...although these seem to be hideously out-of-date in light of all the
information I just posted. I'll have to update them when I have a free
moment (sometime in 2003). For now, I'll just refer you to James
Tauber's excellent site with all kinds of tutorials and references in it

and since I see he just did an update on May 1, 1998, he's likely to be
the most up-to-date resource you'll find on all things XML. James, when
is your book due out on the streets? Better yet, let me go to Amazon
and frighten myself...

Yikes, I was right, you can preorder it from Amazon. It's due out in
October of 1998, at 512 (!) pages. Geez. Preorder it from FoRK and get
a 20% discount...


The Holy Koran in XML is almost exactly 1 Meg... the Old Testament in
XML is close to 2 Megs in size.
-- Tim Bray