As XML has progressed down the technological road since its introduction in 1996, it has steadily gained momentum, to the point where most other World Wide Web Consortium standards are now based on Extensible Markup Language. But for the last two years, the giant, wide-body truck that has slowed its progress has been the development of XML Schema as a standard.
Now that the W3C has finally gotten XML Schema into gear, whats next for XML?
eWeek Labs believes several core XML technologies will probably become standards (or Recommendations, as the W3C calls them) this year and, for the most part, all will help improve the interoperability of XML-based data and applications. Also, not surprisingly, most of these related technologies were initially proposed around the same time as XML Schema.
The XML Information Set, which is expected to reach recommendation status next month, will provide a common reference set for defining abstract objects such as elements within a document. The main goal here isnt to provide a definitive set of definitions but to provide a base that will improve interoperability among XML tools and applications.
Later this year, several technologies pertaining to XML linking—Xlink, Xbase and Xpointer—should become standards or reach candidate status. All these technologies deal with hyperlinking within XML documents, in a manner similar to the way Uniform Resource Indicators work. All three will enable a much more complex and multilayered linking than what is currently possible in HTML and XML.
Whereas the other technologies listed here have been around for almost two years, XML Query was introduced just this year and is probably at least a year away from becoming a standard. As the name suggests, one of the goals of XML Query is to provide the same type of advanced capabilities that SQL queries have provided for standard databases.
The power here is that, although SQL queries are limited to collections of structured data, XML Query will make it possible to build queries based on collections of XML files that might contain unstructured data, such as documents or Web pages.