Microsoft today hinted at increased support for extensible markup language (XML) across its product lines, but denied that it is hijacking the language.
Visual Studio, SQL Server and Office are among the applications set to include XML features in future releases, James Utzschneider, director of industry frameworks at Microsoft, said today at Tech.Ed Europe in Amsterdam.
XML is the next generation of Web authoring language that allows a page author to define elements within a Web document - this enables Web pages to function more like database records.
But while there are several proposed guidelines or 'schemas' for defining the structure, content and symantecs of XML documents, Microsoft says it will play ball and go with the recommendation of industry standards group the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
"Microsoft is totally committed not to splinter XML and to support the W3C," said Utzschneider. "We're supporting the W3C schema guidelines and what they're doing with XML."
Microsoft is making a significant commitment to XML, in particular via its Biztalk initiative that will include separate Biztalk applications as well as enhanced XML capability in other Microsoft product lines.
"This is now a core programming model, not just funky ecommerce stuff," said Utzschneider.
While the hype might lead some to expect a rapid and extensive introduction of XML, Microsoft is expecting initial take up only in key business areas.
"It's a mistake to assume it's going to be a Corba like thing. Instead we're going to see particular applications where it's so incredibly useful that it takes off like wild fire," said Utzschneider.
Corporate purchasing is identified as one of these key areas, where XML will enable automated processing of purchasing documents from a variety of sources. The language also has a key role in presentation of documents and is already being used in some Office 2000 applications.
More Microsoft applications are due to include XML support.
"The next wave of Microsoft product lines will enable you to implement this nirvana," said Utzschneider.
"We're planning to include XML support in SQL Server, as a mechanism to very efficiently search and store XML documents," he said. But he added that Microsoft is wary of adding too much functionality to its successful SQL Server 7.0 product.
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