Feeds

XBRL could learn from XML's success - Bray

Controlled approach stalling

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Supporters of extensible business reporting language (XBRL), the proposed standard for electronic filing of financial information, need to learn lessons from the development of the Web if they want to promote it successfully.

Tim Bray, Sun Microsystems' director of Web technologies and one of the original architects of extensible mark-up language (XML), told Register Developer this would be his main message to the XBRL conference in Vancouver this week.

"I am talking as an ambassador from the Web and want to get across that they need to be more like the Web. There is always a danger when developing standards like XBRL that the best becomes the enemy of the good. They should aim for less central control if they want people to use the standard," Bray said.

He went on to say that the real growth of Web services is a pragmatic approach that can help XBRL: "If you take the analogy of Web services there have been two strands of development. One is based on service oriented architecture (SOA), the WS-* stack, in attempt to get a large, elaborate, end-to-end suite of solutions, and - although it is not dead - this approach is stalling.

"The other, more successful approach, is based on putting together high-performance components - a sort of 80-20 approach that does not try to boil the ocean. XBRL ought to be learning from the development of these technologies."

Although not directly involved in developing XBRL, Bray said he spoke with Charles Hoffman, XBRL's originator, and contributed some core ideas based on his experiences in the creation of XML.

Like XML, XBRL provides a method of tagging data so that it can be recognised by any software. It has seen wide acceptance internationally, with Japan and China mandating XBRL and many European countries with advanced plans to do so. The UK is expected to bring in mandatory XBRL reporting by 2010.

But US adoption of XBRL has been slow with only around 50 companies so far taking it up. In the summer Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) chairman Christopher Cox, who has strongly supported XBRL, was forced to defend a pilot project to US senators who wanted to know why so few US companies were using it. It is widely thought the SEC will make XBRL mandatory by the end of 2008, though Cox has said this will depend on the success of the pilot project. Cox will also be speaking at the XBRL conference.

The SEC has invested several million dollars in promoting XBRL and recently released free source code to enable companies to read XBRL tags. Cox also revealed last week that XBRL tags that map the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) will be available for free this week from the SEC.®

Reducing security risks from open source software

More from The Register

next story
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July
Starting today, regular fanbois will be guinea pigs, it tells Reg
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.