Feeds

XBRL could learn from XML's success - Bray

Controlled approach stalling

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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.®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Be real, Apple: In-app goodie grab games AREN'T FREE – EU
Cupertino stands down after Euro legal threats
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
Microsoft: Your Linux Docker containers are now OURS to command
New tool lets admins wrangle Linux apps from Windows
Bada-Bing! Mozilla flips Firefox to YAHOO! for search
Microsoft system will be the default for browser in US until 2020
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
The hidden costs of self-signed SSL certificates
Exploring the true TCO for self-signed SSL certificates, including a side-by-side comparison of a self-signed architecture versus working with a third-party SSL vendor.