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W3C proposes XML query language spec

XQL could turn Web into relational database

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The World Wide Web Consortium has introduced XQL, a querying language for Extended Mark-up Language (XML), the proposed feature-rich successor to HTML. The move paves the way for the replacement of HTML, the page design language of the Web, by XML. XML provides content creators define mark-up languages for information specific to their site. So a Web site that displays music notation could use XML as the basic for a notation display language. At the moment, that kind of data would have to be converted into text or graphics, the only core data types supported by HTML. XQL makes that approach work, by allowing sites access data encoded in an XML-derived form which they may not know about. "XQL allows developers to quesry XML data the way [they] would query an SQL database," said Microsoft product managerm, David Wasch. "It lets you type in requirements for the data you want to get out." XML was originally championed by Microsoft as a way of moving beyond the limits of SGML (Standard Generalised Mark-up Language), of which HTML is simply a sub-set. HTML will effectively become XML's page data component. The W3C has posted the current XQL specification as a document for consideration -- it will be discussed and debated at a W3C query language workshop early next month. A final spec will then be submitted to W3C members for recommendation. If it gets that far, it will be placed on the W3C's 'recommended' list -- as near as the W3C gets to making a technology a standard. ®

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