W3C ratifies XML spec

Get ready for the real e-commerce revolution...

The World Wide Web Consortium, the organisation that oversees Web-related standards, has ratified its specification for Extensible Markup Language (XML) and its use in Web pages. The specification covers the way XML code can be implemented using Style Sheets, allowing it to be converted into HTML, the language of Web page layout. So far, only Microsoft's Internet Explorer 5.0 supports XML coding -- no great surprise, this, since Microsoft came up with the XML in the first place -- but AOL's Netscape has said future versions of its browser will support it too. So will other browsers, presumably, not least because XML is being widely touted as the technology that will make e-commerce ubiquitous. XML allows any form of data to be formatted and displayed on the Web, just as HTML is used to format and display text and pictures. That makes XML useful as a method of not only sending different kinds of data to customers, but provides better ways of interacting with potential buyers -- hence the interest of the e-commerce guys. ®

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