Australian developers wary of XML

Australian developers wary of XML

It's set to be the next big thing in Web development, but the uptake of Extensible Markup Language (XML) in Australia won't match predicted global adoption rates, an ARN straw poll has found.

According to Gartner Group estimates quoted by Graham Marshall, vice president of Inso Corporation's electronic publishing solutions business unit, at the recent SGML/XML Asia Pacific 98 conference, 50 per cent of Web content globally will be XML-based by 2000.

But in the ARN spot survey, only 36 per cent of developers expect adoption to be as rapid in Australia (see panel).

Indeed, less than 15 months out from 2000, only 8 per cent of local developers are currently using XML, according to the survey.

But there is good news for Marshall's company, and other vendors pushing the XML bandwagon. Almost 80 per cent of developers agree that XML is a superior Web language to HTML.

The main benefit of XML being touted by Inso and others is that while HTML enables the simple publishing of content, XML offers the manipulation and display of data via Web-based applications.

According to exponents, site developers gain flexibility and strength from XML, which enables them to describe their data through the creation of custom tags that are interpreted by an application processing the XML code, much like the fields of a database.

Marshall claims other XML components under development include crosslink functionality designed to seamlessly link sites to give users the appearance of one site being embedded in another and enabling the information to be automatically updated in both locations.

A uniform style sheet language is also planned using XML that will provide common templates for presentation on the Web and printing.

Meanwhile, Inso used the SGML/XML conference to announce the availability of Version 3.0 of DynaBase, its XML-based Web content management and dynamic Web publishing platform.

According to company officials, enhancements to version 3.0 include enhanced support for XML, with developers now able to import, parse, and store native XML components.

The new version also incorporates support for indexing, version control, and edition management of XML content, while enhanced dynamic publishing capabilities include support for XML component serving, XML tag-level scripting, and XML tag-level search and retrieval.

Automatic conversion

Also new in DynaBase 3.0 is the integration of Inso's Outside In technology which supports automatic conversion-to-HTML of a variety of popular file formats including Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

A new version of the Command Line Interface (CLI) also gives site developers an open application programmer's interface (API) for the controlled exchange and management of content between any machine on the Internet and any Web server running DynaBase, Inso officials claim.

Available immediately, DynaBase 3.0 plugs- in to Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS) running Windows NT 4.0 and Netscape Enterprise Servers running Windows NT 4.0 and Sun Solaris 2.6.

Inso Corporation

Tel (02) 9499 4611

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