Sun to build XML support into Java

Move to ensure Java is de facto standard for e-commerce app development

Sun is to add support for the Extensible Markup Language (XML) to Java in a bid to allow the language to take the lead in the development of next-generation e-commerce applications. Sun's work centres on the development of an XML API for Java which will standardise the way the language can be used to interpret and process XML code. XML itself is being touted primarily as the successor to the HTML. While HTML is designed to format and display text and simple bit-map images, XML's scope is much wider, allowing Web designers to define their own formatting languages that best fit the kind of data they want to display on the Web. For that reason, XML is increasingly being viewed as the lingua franca for e-commerce, and has already won the backing of a number of key e-commerce software players. Microsoft, Bluestone and Software AG have already announced XML-based e-commerce servers, and Oracle, IBM and Sun are believed to be getting ready to announce products of their own. Sun's move is clearly aimed at ensuring Java becomes the natural choice of developers building advanced e-commerce Web sites. Again, the company is playing its non-proprietary card: "[The API] will benefit enterprises because they need not be concerned about incompatibilities with each vendor using a proprietary XML parser," said Sun's senior product manager for XML, Nancy Lee. Like other Java products of late, the XML API will be released under Sun's open source-style Java Community software licence. ®

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