1998 XML News

Thursday, December 31, 1998

The deadline for XTech '99 presentation submissions has been extended from a "soft" deadline of Monday, December 14, 1998, to a "hard" deadline of Friday, January 8, 1999. XTech '99 is the third annual West Coast spring GCA conference for XML and related standards. This year it will be held March 7-11 in the San Jose Convention Center.

Monday, December 28, 1998

Bill la Forge has posted the first version of MDBUILD, an extension to MDSAX that supports the construction of W3C DOM trees from XML documents for multiple document types. The initial release of MDBUILD is now included in the MDSAX zip file.

Sunday, December 27, 1998

Bill Laforge has released the first version of MDSAX, the Multi-Document Simple API for XML, a set of tools for layering filters on top of SAX parsers.

Saturday, December 26, 1998

Jonathan Eizenkopf's written a PERL-XML FAQ list.

Thursday, December 24, 1998

Version 0.82 of the Silfide XML Parser (SXP) is now available. SXP is a validating XML parser written in Java that implements the XML 1.0 Recommendation and most of its satellite recommendations including

  • Document Object Model Level 1
  • XML Namespaces
  • XPointer
  • XLink
Wednesday, December 23, 1998

Jani Jaakkola has released version 1.91a of Sgrep, a tool to search and index text, SGML, XML and HTML files using structured patterns. Binaries are available for Win32, HP-UX, Linux, OSF1 and Solaris platforms. Source code is also available. New features in version 1.91a include:

  • Nearness operators for both ordered and unordered nearness.
  • Unicode support including UTF-16 and UTF-8 encodings
  • 'parenting' operator is now faster
  • more accurate error reporting
  • An option to query terms from index files
  • Assorted bug fixes
Tuesday, December 22, 1998

The beta 2 version of the XML parser for Java, co-developed by Microsoft and DataChannel, is now available for free download. New features include direct viewing of XML, an XML engine, XSL support, and XQL transformations of data.

Monday, December 21, 1998

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has published the first public working draft of Ruby for supporting ruby (annotation) text used in East Asian ideographic languages like Japanese.

Sunday, December 20, 1998

Steve Muench of Oracle has posted PLSXML, PL/SQL-based XML utilities including

  • DBXML - For generating rich, nested XML documents from SQL queries
  • DBDOM - For creating, parsing, traversing, and searching XML Documents using a subset of the Document Object Model API using PL/SQL
  • DBXSL - For generating a database-driven XSL stylesheet for a tree-rendering of data (used by one of the demos)

James Clark's posted a new version of XT that supports the most recent release of XSL. There is no support for the previous version of XSL, so stylesheets that worked with the previous version of XT will not work with this version.

IBM's alphaWorks released the first version of the LotusXSL formatting engine. This is an experimental implementation of the transformation section of XSL. It's usable as a stand-alone Java 1.1 application, a Java applet, or a JavaBean.

Friday, December 18, 1998

The W3C Working Group on XSL has released the second working draft of the XSL specification. This version supersedes the previous draft released on August 18. More news once I've had a chance to look it over.

Steve DeRose has posted a list of nine implementations for XPointer.

XArc is a simple specification for supporting atomic "linking" in XML. One way to think about XArc is as a rewrite of the "simple" link construct in XLink. This rewrite provides built-in capabilities on which to layer the extended link facilities of XLink (albeit in a slightly more verbose but unambiguous syntax).

Oracle has posted an early adopter release of an XML Parser for Java. Registration is required.

Thursday, December 17, 1998

Len Bullard's working on a DTD for VRML.

Wednesday, December 16, 1998

MDSAX (Multi-Document Simple API for XML) is an ongoing project to develop a set of tools for working with Java SAX parsers and parser filters. MDSAX provides developers with considerably more control over the creation and stacking order of SAX filters, and makes it simple for programs to specify different filter stacks for different types of documents (as identified by their root elements.) Factory classes make it possible to construct and initialize filters to take full advantage of all of their features without extensive custom coding. MDSAX also provides access to a number of services, allowing filters to communicate amongst themselves and with the application.

MDSAX originated as a part of Coins 4, a BSD-licensed open source project that uses XML to provide much friendlier and more flexible object serialization than current alternatives. No understanding of Coins is needed to use MDSAX, however - just an understanding of the SAX model for event-based parsers. MDSAX will work with any SAX-compliant parser or parser filter.

Tuesday, December 15, 1998

MacroMedia is claiming that version 2 of their payware DreamWeaver HTML editor supports XML. I'm not yet sure exactly what level of XML support is provided. Does anyone who anyone has checked it out (there's a free demo) care to elaborate?

Monday, December 14, 1998

Chinese XML Now! is a project at Academica Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan, to help developers of Chinese XML software. The site features a FAQ about specific Chinese questions on XML, Chinese test files, and assorted other information.

Jun Fujisawa sent in a large list of new errata for Chapters 5, 6, 9, and 11 of XML: Extensible Markup Language

Sunday, December 13, 1998

The XML Fragment working group has published its initial Requirements document. The XML Fragment working group is chartered with defining a way to send fragments of an XML document--regardless of whether the fragments are predetermined entities or not--without having to send all of the containing document up to the part in question. This document specifies the design principles and requirements for this activity. Comments are solicited.

John Cowan's posted a DTD fragment declaring all the currently registered MIME types as XML notations. Media type attributes are not mapped. The MIME types are mapped as follows: / becomes _, _ becomes __, and $ becomes _DLR_, to avoid characters illegal in XML Names.

Paul Butkiewicz's XMLNet is a Java API for streaming XML. Using XMLNet, information such as realtime sports scores can be transferred over the Internet in real time as a series of XML documents immediately and with high frequency on a schedule determined by a server, as opposed to relying upon requests from clients. These documents are delivered, one after another, on continuously open sockets to connected clients and delivered to objects in that client as Document Object Model (DOM) documents. Client objects can subscribe to any of these documents by implementing an interface and specifying which documents it would like to receive.

Saturday, December 12, 1998

A new version of Simon St.Laurent's XLinkFilter can now identify the starting locations of inline elements using simple XPointers so you can create XLink applications without putting ID attributes in all your elements. A new component, the LocationFilter, also extends SAX ParserFilter, and keeps track of where in the document each element is. XLinkFilter source is available under the Mozilla Public License.

Friday, December 11, 1998

Netscape has posted the first beta of "Gecko" for Windows 95, 98, and NT. Gecko is an implementation of Mozilla's next generation layout engine including XML and CSS support. Gecko is not expected to be a full featured Web browser like Navigator but it should at least allow you to display XML and HTML files.

Thursday, December 10, 1998

Version 1.90a of the open source Sgrep is now available in source and binary form for Win32, HP-UX, Linux, OSF/1 and Solaris. Sgrep is a tool to search and index text, SGML, XML and HTML files using structured patterns. New features in this version include

  • Query operators supporting direct containment so you can query children and parents of given elements.
  • GNU autoconf support makes compiling sgrep under Unix-systems easier.
  • Assorted bug fixes

ICESoft AS's E-Lite is a lightweight web browser written in Java notable for native MathML support. It's $30 payware with a 30 day free trial. MathML support is provided through WebEQ 2.2 and should improve when WebEQ 2.3 is rolled in.

The HTML-NG Working Group of the W3C has posted a working draft of the specification for Voyager, a project to reformulate HTML 4.0 as an XML application.

IBM's alphaWorks has released a new version of XML TreeDiff, a set of Java beans and GUI tool that finds differences in parsed XML trees without considering irrelevant issues like indentation that don't affect the structure or contents of the document.

AlphaWorks has also released a new version of DataCraft, an application generation tool that provides an XML view of databases and allows you to publish XML forms to the Web.

A new mailing list for discussion of XML in French has been created. To subscribe send a message with word "subscribe" in the body of your message to xml-request@trisome.com.

Wednesday, December 9, 1998

A new draft of XSchema fixes assorted typos and minor problems. XSchema is a proposed replacement for DTDs that uses XML syntax.

Tuesday, December 8, 1998

Python/XML version 0.5 has been released. These tools are definitely beta quality. Bug reports are solicited. The Python/XML distribution contains the basic tools required for processing XML data using the Python programming language, assembled into one easy-to-install package. The distribution includes parsers and standard interfaces such as SAX and DOM, along with various other useful modules. Currently included are several XML parsers, a SAX interface, a DOM interface, xmlarch.py, for architectural forms processing, a Unicode wide-string module, and documentation and example programs. Changes in this version include:

  • The DOM implementation has been extensively modified, and is now much closer to compliance with the DOM Recommendation.
  • A Unicode type has been added as the subpackage xml.unicode.wstring.
  • Various subpackages have been upgraded to their most recent versions.
Monday, December 7, 1998

Techno2000 USA released version 1.5 of the $119.95 payware CLIP! XML Editor. New features include

  • New Document Wizard
  • Dynamic Validation
  • Search
  • Continuous Error Detection
  • Import Foreign Elements
  • DTD Structure View
Saturday, December 5, 1998

CUESoft has released version 1.0 of the CUEXml ActiveX control/Delphi component as spamware. (You can download it after you give them your name, email address and other personal info.) A $195 professional version with source code and support is also available.

Friday, December 4, 1998

Late Night Software has released version 1.0d2 of XML Tools 1.0d2, an OSAX that allows AppleScript to parse XML via Expat. As far as I know this is the first XML parser for the Macintosh.

Thursday, December 3, 1998

I'm still working on fixing all the bugs in the site caused by the switch-over from sunsite to metalab, particularly the dueling rewrites problem. (The Web server helpfully rewrites each sunsite URL as a metalab URL where as each page contains JavaScript to rewrite each metalab URL as a sunsite URL. I missed this because I have JavaScript turned off for security reasons.) I hope to be done by late today.

IBM's alphaWorks has released version 1.1.9 of XML Parser for Java (formerly XML for Java). This release conforms to the Namespace Proposed Recommendation, improves memory usage in SAX mode, ads -nowarn and -stdout options to XJParse, handles wildcards, and fixes many bugs.

Wednesday, December 2, 1998

metalab.unc.edu is officially changing its name to MetaLab.unc.edu. Naturally this affects both Cafe au Lait (http://metalab.unc.edu/javafaq) and Cafe con Leche (http://metalab.unc.edu/xml/). All old links, bookmarks, email addresses, and the like should work for the foreseeable future, however. I'm going to be slowly updating my links on these pages. However, my first attempt to change over a couple of weeks ago uncovered a misconfiguration in UNC's SMTP server that lost my mail for a couple of days. Consequently, I'm going to be very cautious in the switch. If you notice any problems that seem like they might be caused by bad URLs please send me mail at elharo@macfaq.com (NOT elharo@ibiblio.org since if there are any problems that address may lose your mail) and I'll try to fix them. All other email should go to elharo@ibiblio.org as usual.

Sun's posted the second early access release of the XML Library for Java on the Java Developer Connection. It's been renamed the much cooler Java Project X: Java Services for XML Technology. Java Project X is written in Java, and requires JDK 1.1.6 or later. It provides a SAX compliant, namespace aware, XML parser with optional validation, an in-memory object model tree for manipulating and writing XML structured data, and some basic support for integrating JavaBeans with XML.

Tuesday, December 1, 1998

Fujitsu's sponsoring a mailing list devoted to XLL (XLink and XPointer). To subscribe, send email to: majordomo@fsc.fujitsu.com with the words "subscribe xlxp-dev" in the body of the message.

Monday, November 30, 1998

Philippe Le Hegaret has posted version 1.2 of KOML, the Koala Object Markup Language, an XML application to serialize Java objects. Version 1.2 fixes a bug and uses Base 64 encoding for the row element.

Tuesday, November 24, 1998

Version 0.7.1b1 of the Koala XSL engine is now available with assort bug fixes and performance enhancements.

Monday, November 23, 1998

I've updated the books page with several new and soon expected books.

Sunday, November 22, 1998

James Clark has released version 1.0.1 of expat, a non-validating XML parser written in C, to fix assorted bugs. Expat may now be licensed under the GPL or the MPL. A test version that supports namespaces is also available.

Saturday, November 21, 1998

Simon St. Laurent's expanded his XLinkFilter library with more examples.

Friday, November 20, 1998

XML won PC Magazine's 1998 Technical Excellence Award in the Standards category.

A draft of the new JIS extended Kanji character set is now available (in Japanese, of course) for public review and comment. The draft defines about 4000 Kanji and 630 symbols, apparently including some that aren't available in Unicode.

Thursday, November 19, 1998

Jun Fujisawa sent in a number of new corrections for Chapters 2-4 of XML: Extensible Markup Language.

Wednesday, November 18, 1998

Three new reviews of XML: Extensible Markup Language have been posted at amazon.com since the last time I checked.

My online journal features a new entry about cross-cultural insults in New York politics that's sure to get me filtered by net censors everywhere in every language. If you're interested in New York politics or the crude art of insults, read Who's the Putzhead Now, Schmuck?

Monday, November 17, 1998

Mark Leisher has posted version 1.5 of the ClearyU BDF font. This is a 12 point, 100dpi, proportional Unicode font that includes 4120 Unicode characters. This covers most of Unicode except for the Han, Hangul, Tibetan, and Indic scripts. This version has numerous improvements in spacing, some minor glyph shape modifications (mostly fixing the Greek glyphs), and a few new glyphs.

Saturday, November 14, 1998

IBM's alphaWorks has updated RDF for XML to the latest RDF draft specification and posted a whole bunch of new products for Java and XML integration including

  • Bean Markup Language, an XML-based component configuration and wiring language for JavaBeans.

  • DataCraft provides an XML view of databases and enables publishing XML forms to the Web.

  • Dynamic XML for Java, a processor for attaching Java displays and behaviors to XML trees and sub-trees (elements and children).

  • PatML, A rule-based pattern match/replace Java processor for XML.

  • TeXML, a path from XML into the TeX formatting language.

  • XML BeanMaker for generating Java bean classes from XML schemas

  • XML Editor Maker takes an XML schema and allows you to automatically generate visual editors for building SML documents.

  • XML Productivity Kit for Java, a layer on top of the XML Parser in Java

  • XML TreeDiff, a package of beans that provide the ability to efficiently differentiate and update DOM trees, just like diff and patch differentiate and update data files.

Friday, November 13, 1998

Jon Nelson found the XMI specification in PDF format on Unisys's Web site.

Simon St.Laurent is working on a Java class library for XLinks that extracts the linking information from a document, allowing the application to process the document without having to deal with the issues involved in creating and managing links. Right now the library supports simple and extended links, but not hub groups or attribute remapping.

Thursday, November 12, 1998

IBM, Unisys, Oracle, and others have presented to the OMG the final proposal for the XML Metadata Interchange Format, XMI, an XML application for UML models. Unfortunately all that seems to be available to the public at this point is PR. The specification itself is nowhere to be found.

Tuesday, November 10, 1998

XML-APP is a new, informal, unmoderated mailing list created to support those who are interested in developing XML applications. This mailing list differs from XML-DEV in that it is intended to promote deployment of XML standards in real world applications. Only topics related to the application of XML technology are appropriate for this mailing list. XML-APP represents the "dwarvish" aspect of the XML community, down in the dirt and slime, working feverishly to make things work, and hounded by over-hype and deadlines. You can subscribe by sending a blank message to xml-app-subscribe@sunsite.auc.dk.

Microsoft, WebMethods and Texcel, submitted a paper to the W3C about the Extensible Query Language (XQL). XQL, allegedly supported in IE 5.0 beta 2 (though I haven't yet tested this myself) allows developers to execute SQL like queries on XML documents. On the one hand I can see how this might be useful. On the other hand I'm worried developers will pour huge amounts of data into documents sent to the client rather than storing them in databases on the server and only sending the clients what they want.

Monday, November 9, 1998

Richard Tobin's RXP based, Web hosted XML well-formedness checker and validator now has an option to validate as well.

Saturday, November 7, 1998

Jeffrey Veen's drawn a smiley face in VML for IE 5.0 users. Dave Winer's got more VML demos too. I'll try to put up my first effort soon.

Jonathan Borden's Extensible Mail Transport Protocol (XMTP) is an XML encoding for MIME/SMTP; that is e-mail messages that may contain binary attachments. Particularly interesting is how binary data is embedded in XML documents using Base64 encoding.

Version 1.1 of the Koala Object Markup Language (KOML) is now available. KOML is an XML application for serializing Java objects into an XML document. The DTD is also available.

Friday, November 6, 1998

Last night, my NT box finally finished downloading IE 5.0 sometime in the early A.M. hours, so I'll be checking it out today, and post more comments here later.

Update: I've finished checking and IE 5.0 most definitely does support direct display of XML documents plus CSS style sheets. Here's a very simple example of an XML document formatted with a CSS style sheet. View source to see the actual data. If you look at it in Netscape or an earlier version of IE, you'll probably also see the source. More of impressions of IE 5.0 are in today's Daily Verse.

Hans C. Arents, Director projects & consultancy OFFIS n.v. wrote in with some comments on the recently released IE 5.0 beta 2:

I saw a demo today by Sebastien Mizon of Microsoft France, given at the XML Forum conference in Paris (http://www.technoforum.fr/Pages/xml/xml.htm), of the XML capabilities of IE 5.0 beta 2. IE 5.0 by default shows a well-formed XML document as a (collapsible) tree of tags with content. When you attach a stylesheet to this XML file (a CSS 1.0 stylesheet, or an XSL stylesheet), the XML file is shown in all its glory as if it were an HTML file (although it is not converted to HTML, only rendered as such). As far as I could tell, the XSL it supports is something in between the original proposal and the present working draft, and they are clearly putting more effort in providing support for CSS stylesheets. We also got demonstrations of the different possibilities of the new msxml.dll XML parser (which can be used as a COM object not only on the IE 5 client side, but also on the IIS server side, e.g. in ASP pages), validation and error reporting for XML files in IE 5.0, XML islands in HTML,... We also saw Word 2000 in action, confirming the rumour that Word will *not* save in XML (and they don't plan to add this any time soon), but will save in HTML+XML tags for all the stuff which can't be captured in HTML. The guy from Microsoft assured me that their HTML+XML format will be identical in content and functionalities to the content and functionalities of their proprietary .doc format. The HTML+XML which comes out of Word 2000 isn't any real XML (yet), and I don't think they already have an XML DTD defined for this format: when asked to load a Word 2000 HTML+XML document in XML Notepad, XML Notepad already stopped at line 8 due to a syntax error.

I have not yet been able to duplicate the collapsible tree of tags with content style display I've heard about from several people. If anyone knows the secret, please email me.

Greg Stein's written mod_dav, a GPL'd DAV module for Apache. (the thing the Halloween document said couldn't be done). Current version is 0.9.0. DAV stands for "Distributed Authoring and Versioning". It's a Microsoft technology ostensibly for publishing documents to Web servers, but also for attempting to use complexity to lock out competitors in the Web server space, especially open source competitors. GDBM and Expat are required.

Speaking of open source, a second Halloween document has leaked.

Thursday, November 5, 1998

I'm still trying to download IE 5 from Microsoft. However, I have been able to determine that this release provides optional support for the Vector Markup Language, VML. It also adds support for Vietnamese, Thai, Hebrew, and Arabic for the first time. Input methods for Chinese, Japanese, Korean, are also new. Most European languages are fully supported as well including Russian and Greek.

First reports are that this beta does support direct display of XML files as trees, and can even apply the transform parts of XML. I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who has more details about XML/CSS/XSL support in this beta.

Fujitsu's released version 0.8 of its HyBrick browser with support for XLink and XPointer. The site is in Japanese.

Wednesday, November 4, 1998

Microsoft has posted the first general beta of Internet Explorer 5.0 for Windows. You may have trouble getting through, though. As usual, the site is severely handicapped by Microsoft's reliance on Windows NT servers that simply cannot handle the load of an extremely high traffic site like www.microsoft.com.

This beta is expected to support direct display of XML files with CSS style sheets. I'll check out the support myself, and report back on this page once I know more. For the first time, Java will not be bundled with the base configuration of the browser, but may be available as a separate download and in other, larger configurations.

Richard James Anderson has posted an early version of an ActiveX SAX control that can parse most XML documents that don't contain references to external entities. A sample VB6 app for reading and processing XML files is included.

The XML Syntax Working Group of the W3C is issuing a "Last Call" for comments on the specification Associating stylesheets with XML documents - version 1.0. Send any comments to jjc@jclark.com, tbray@textuality.com, and jnava@adobe.com by Friday, November 20th.

James Tauber has posted version 0.5 of FOP, his XSL formatting object to PDF translator. This version adds support for center and right paragraph alignment. XP and SAX are required.

Tuesday, November 3, 1998

Version 0.7b4 of the Koala XSL processor is now available. This release fixes assorted bugs.

Monday, November 2, 1998

The final version of XSchema 1.0 is now available. XSchema is a proposed replacement for DTDs that uses XML syntax.

Sunday, November 1, 1998

James Tauber has posted version 0.4.5 of FOP, his XSL formatting object to PDF translator. This version is still pretty alpha. XP and SAX are required.

Friday, October 30, 1998

James Tauber has ported FOP, his XSL formatting object to PDF translator, to Java. The current version is 0.4.0 and very alpha. XP and SAX are required.

Thursday, October 29, 1998

Several chapters from Building XML Applications by Simon St. Laurent and Ethan Cerami are now available. This book covers developing Java applets and applications that process XML.

Wednesday, October 28, 1998

ICE 1.0 is an XML based protocol for exchanging content between web sites.

Tuesday, October 27, 1998

The Mozilla team has elected to eliminate all the old front ends and move to a single, cross-platform front end that uses the next generation layout engine and scriptable components. This should improve CSS support, and probably XML as well. It should also result in a faster, more robust, and more predictable browser. However, the down side is that a stable version may be longer in coming.

Monday, October 26, 1998

Markus Kuhn has expanded his public domain, ISO 10646-1/Unicode version of the old "fixed" font that comes with the X11 Windows System to around 2500 characters, including all European characters of the commonly used 8-bit character sets plus a good selection of mathematical, phonetic alphabet, and other symbols.

Bill LaForge has released version 3.0 of Coins, his XML based scheme for serializing Java objects. This version is supposed to be easier to use, and is no longer free for developers.

Sunday, October 25, 1998
A call for papers for WWW8, the Eighth International Conference on the World Wide Web, has been posted. Topics of interest include Web performance, browsers and tools, hypertext and hypermedia, user interfaces, searching, querying, and indexing, and electronic commerce and security.
Saturday, October 24, 1998

Microsoft has submitted a proposal on HTML components to the W3C.

Dave Winer noticed that Netscape is using RDF/XML for the What's Related feature of Communicator 4.5.

Xmltr is a Frontier suite for translating XML documents into alternate representations like HTML.

Thursday, October 22, 1998
Gavin Yee sent in some corrections for Chapter 3 of XML: Extensible Markup Language.
Wednesday, October 21, 1998
Concordia University's Computational Mathematics Laboratory has started a web site for MathML.
Tuesday, October 20, 1998

The purpose of the site is primarily educational. Comments, questions or suggestions are most welcome.

The final review version of XSchema is available. The review period lasts until Sunday, 25 October and covers sections 4 and 5, appendix C, and those parts of sections 1-3 that have changed since the last version. If no technical questions are raised, the spec will be considered final on Monday, October 26th.

The W3C has released version 1.3b of the experimental Amaya web browser/editor for Windows and Linux. This release supports most of HTML 4.0. Amaya's most notable feature is limited support for MathML.

Monday, October 19, 1998

I note with regret the passing of Jon Postel at age 55 Friday. Postel, founder of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, and one of the key movers behind the still evolving restructuring of the domain name system. He was a true Internet pioneer. In a time when the Internet is filled with corporations trying make Internet standards a convenient club with which to bash their competitors, Postel was one of the last considering what was good for the many rather than what was profitable for the few. The Internet is poorer for losing him.

Michael Kay's released version 3.1 of SAXON a Java class library that sits on top of a SAX Parser and provides variety of facilities that help the application process an XML document. This release features assorted small enhancements. Source code is included.

Saturday, October 17, 1998

Geir Ove Gronmo has released version 0.20 of xmlarch, an XML architectural forms processor written in Python. This release includes better documentation, full support for renaming, an option to get information about the original events, and assorted bug fixes.

Netscape has posted the release version of Communicator 4.5 on its ftp site for Mac, Unix, and Windows. A stand-alone version of Navigator 4.5 does not yet appear to be available.

Friday, October 16, 1998

Adobe has released the $895 FrameMaker 5.5.6 for Mac, Windows, and Unix. (Kudos to Adobe for releasing all three simultaneously.) This version offers the eagerly awaited XML export. Upgrades from 5.5 are $25, or free if you bought it since September 6. Upgrades from earlier versions range from $225 (Mac and Windows) to $645 (Unix shared license). Other new features include better support for Word 97 and PDF files and can handle Japanese, Chinese, and Korean for the first time if the necessary fonts and input methods are available on the host system. I'd like to hear from anybody who has a copy and can report on how well it works.

Markus Kuhn has created a public domain, ISO 10646-1/Unicode version of the old "fixed" font that comes with the X11 Windows System that covers around 1900 characters, including all European characters of the commonly used 8-bit character sets plus a good selection of mathematical, phonetic alphabet, and other symbols.

Thursday, October 15, 1998

The big vapor/FUD news is that Microsoft has promised to support direct display of XML+CSS/XSL in the next beta of IE 5.0. No dates have been promised however. Several of the articles in Recommended Reading discuss this.

jneely@netten.net has posted a very complimentary review of XML: Extensible Markup Language on amazon.com.

Chuck Allen's also working on XML for job postings. Although he doesn't seem as far along as HRML, his DTDs don't have HRML's copyright restrictions either, so it's actually possible for other people to use them.

Wednesday, October 14, 1998
HireScape's HRML, the Human Resources Markup Language, is a work-in-progress XML application for (what else?) human resources management, specifically job listings.
Tuesday, October 13, 1998
Jeremy Calles has posted version 0.7b2 of the Koala XSL engine that works with DOM Level 1.0, fixes assorted bugs, and includes the parent anchor. Instead of installing it on your local machine, you can also access it on the web.

Alan Esenther sent in a bunch of corrections for XML: Extensible Markup Language which I've added to the errata page. I'll try to get most of these fixed in the third printing.

XML-IT is a new Italian language mailing list for discussion of XML. To subscribe send email to majordomo@ananas.usr.dsi.unimi.it with the words "subscribe XML-IT" in the body of your message.

Monday, October 12, 1998
Internet World featured a lot of T-shirts (including XMLU's "Will Tag for Beer") but no stunning announcements. Three different companies were showing their own XML-to-HTML formatting engines that completely ignored CSS and XSL. The common justification for these products was that they could integrate data from databases into web pages.

Interleaf and WebMethods were showing document management tools in the five figure range. Most of the other XML products were in the four figure region. By contrast, most HTML products I saw ran between $100 and $300. Clearly, these companies don't see XML as a mass market technology. If XML is going to take off, the freeware community is going to have to do the heavy lifting. Otherwise, at these prices XML is limited to the same markets as SGML.

Sunday, October 11, 1998
Jon Bosak's posted version 2.0 of his XMLized versions of the Koran, Bible, and Book of Mormon. This release does not include verse numbers which should be generated from style sheets.
Saturday, October 10, 1998
Juan Carlos Garcia Cuartango has uncovered a new security hole in Internet Explorer 4.0 and later that allows web sites to use DHTML and JavaScript to upload an arbitrary file on the user's hard drive to the server without user permission. The bug does not appear to affect Netscape. All IE users should definitely turn off JavaScript until this is fixed.
Friday, October 9, 1998
Majix 1.0 is a tool for converting RTF files to XML.
Thursday, October 8, 1998

IBM's alphaworks has released version 1.1.4 of XML for Java, an XML parser written in Java. This release supports the DOM Level 1 specification, runs faster, adds 18 new EBCDIC encodings, and fixes assorted bugs.

I'll be at Internet World in New York tomorrow, Friday October 9. Anyone who wants to get together or who has an XML product to look at should drop me an email.

Wednesday, October 7, 1998
Dan Brumleve has uncovered several new security holes in Netscape's JavaScript implementation. These holes can expose the contents of your cache, your file system, and your cookies file. Furthermore, they operate in all versions of Netscape 4.0.x including 4.0.7 that was supposed to fix them. These holes are even worse than the previously discovered holes. You definitely need to turn JavaScript off until they're fixed.

PR3 of the Docuverse DOM SDK PR3 is now available.

Peter Flynn's posted version 1.4.1 of the XML FAQ List.

Tuesday, October 6, 1998
Peter Flynn's posted version 1.4 of the XML FAQ List.
Monday, October 5, 1998
ICOM Datenverarbeitungs GmbH has released the first XML parser for Borland Delphi. The parser is free. Source code is available for a price.
Sunday, October 4, 1998
Netscape has released Communicator 4.0.7 for Mac, Unix, and Windows. I haven't tested it yet, but I suspect this is a bug fix release to repair the JavaScript security hole Dan Brumleve uncovered.
Saturday, October 3, 1998
Schema for Object-oriented XML (SOX) is a yet another proposal for replacing DTDs with an XML based syntax for describing documents. SOX provides primitive and user-defined datatypes, attribute interface inheritance, and namespaces. A SOX processor operates on a SOX document to create different output targets such as DTDs or Java classes.
Friday, October 2, 1998
The W3C has elevated Document Object Model (DOM) Level 1 to official recommendation status.
Thursday, October 1, 1998
Gavin M. Roy is soliciting help to develop XMLTP, a common, open source protocol for sending and executing XML data.

The following important announcement about corporate efforts in Congress to steal intellectual property rights from creators and consumers via the Digital Future Coalition:

On September 24, 1998, Congress held the first of several meetings, to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the "Digital Millennium Copyright Act" (DMCA). These meetings could be completed by the end of this week!

The DMCA makes significant changes to American copyright law in the name of implementing recent World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) copyright treaties. Unfortunately, some of the proposed changes could upset the uniquely American balance between the users and creators of copyrighted works. The Senate bill lacks adequate protections for fair use, encryption research, and personal privacy. It could also limit the availability of future consumer electronics and computer products. On the other hand, the House version contains many extraneous provisions that have little or nothing to do with implementing the important WIPO treaties. These provisions in the House bill would overturn three consumer-oriented Supreme Court decisions. The Justice department has concluded that one of these provisions, Title V, which creates sweeping new anti-fair-use rights in databases and other collections of information, may well be unconstitutional. (This Title V was previously a separate bill, the "Collections of Information Antipiracy Act.") Now is the time to speak up because these meetings will determine the final form of this legislation as it goes to the President's desk to be signed into law.

If you care about the future of the Internet, you should let your Senators and Representatives know, as soon as possible, how important it is to preserve the essential provisions of the House DMCA, which protects fair use, personal privacy, the availability of consumer products and encryption research - while rejecting its harmful extraneous provisions.

You can find out exactly what you can to do to help on the Digital Future Coalition web site.

Tuesday, September 29, 1998

International Data Corporation's latest study claims that Internet Explorer has passed Netscape Navigator as the most used browser. According to IDC, IE has 43.8% market share to Netscape's 41.5%. Figures are for the first half of 1998.

Dan Brumleve has uncovered a nasty JavaScript related bug in Netscape that can expose the URLs of files in your cache. If these files include responses to GET CGIs, it can expose passwords, credit cards numbers, and more. This is an extremely bad bug. I strongly recommend that you turn off JavaScript in your browser until it's fixed.

For some work I'm doing with Unicode programs, I need a large quantity of public domain Greek text encoded in Unicode or UTF-8, perhaps something like Homer's Odyssey or Plato's Republic. I could also convert text encoded in ISO 8859-7, Windows 1253, or MacGreek. However, all I've found so far is a variety of Roman transliterations and English and German translations. If you happen to know of such a thing available on the Internet, could you please drop me a line? Cyrillic text (War and Peace? The Brothers Karamazov?) would also be useful, but since I don't speak any Cyrillic languages, I'd prefer to work with Greek.

Monday, September 28, 1998
Markus Kuhn is attempting to create a monospaced Unicode XWindows font for use in terminal emulation, source code, and the like. The current version of covers around 1600 characters, including all European characters of the commonly used 8-bit character sets plus a good selection of mathematical and other symbols. Assistance from interested parties is welcome.
Sunday, September 27, 1998
Mulberry Tech has released version 0.1 of xslide, an Emacs major mode for editing XSL stylesheets.
Saturday, September 26, 1998
Gnumeric 0.2 is an open source spreadsheet for Linux that uses XML as its native file format.
Friday, September 25, 1998
Ron Bourret's written Java classes to convert XSchema->DTD and DTD->XSchema. Namespaces, AttGroup, Model, Enumeration, and UnparsedEntity elements are not yet supported.
Thursday, September 24, 1998
A new release of the Koala XSL processor implements most matching patterns and templates rules in the latest XSL draft. It also implements name spaces, unterminated HTML tags, and fixes assorted bugs.
Wednesday, September 23, 1998

The Web Standards Project is coordinating a petition "to Let Netscape know you care about getting that standards-friendly NGLayout engine, which is supposed to make Navigator 100% compliant with CSS-1 and DOM, into the next version of their browser. Before they exhaust their resources on Netcenter, remind them that standards come first. Tell 'em you want your NGLayout!"

Members of the House Commerce Committee will vote this Thursday, September 23, on the Oxley bill, a.k.a "CDA II". This bill is yet another unconstitutional intrusion onto our free speech rights. If your representative sits on the House commerce committee, your phone call would be especially appreciated. More information including phone numbers of the members of the House Commerce Committee is available from the Center for Democracy and Technology.

Tuesday, September 22, 1998
Sun's posted the first early access release of XML Library for Java on the Java Developer Connection. It's only available to registered members but registration is free. XML Library is written in Java, and requires JDK 1.1.6 or later. It provides a SAX compliant, namespace aware, XML parser with optional validation, an in-memory object model tree for manipulating and writing XML structured data, and some basic support for integrating JavaBeans with XML.
Saturday, September 19, 1998
James Clark has released a new version of XT. This release supports HTML as well as XML output.
Friday, September 18, 1998
I've uploaded the examples from XML: Extensible Markup Language and begun collecting and posting errata as well. If you've found any mistakes ranging from major misconceptions to minor typos, I'd appreciate it if you'd send them in so I can correct them in the second printing.
Thursday, September 17, 1998

John Cowan's posted the first preliminary version of DOMParser, a SAX compliant XML parser, except that its input comes from a DOM implementation rather than an InputSource.

Geir Ove Gronmo has posted version 0.11 of xmlarch.py, an XML architectural forms processor written in Python. This software allows you to process XML architectural forms using any SAX parser. This is a bug fix release.

Wednesday, September 16, 1998
Frank Boumphrey's added some sample XML files and DTDs to his XML tutorials page for testing XML browsers.
Tuesday, September 15, 1998

The W3C has posted the official DTD for the XML specification DTD and its documentation. This DTD is intended for W3C working drafts, notes, recommendations, and other technical reports. It includes tags for

  • Basic technical report structure and content such as paragraphs, lists, and cross-references
  • Content specific to XML-related technical reports, such as EBNF productions and validity constraints
  • Proper headers and metadata for W3C technical reports
Sunday, September 13, 1998
Netscape 4.5pr2 is now available for Windows and the Mac. The big new feature of this release is integration into the OS like IE.
Wednesday, September 8, 1998
The second release of the Java Koala XSL engine supports more matching patterns, more templates rules, more actions such as numbering, direct-processing, including stylesheets.
Tuesday, September 7, 1998
Docuverse has released version 0.10 of the Docuverse HTML SDK for Java. This includes an HTML parser with a SAX driver that depends on Swing. In combination with the Docuverse DOM SDK, this allows you to use the DOM on HTML files.
Monday, September 6, 1998

The Silfide Working Group has released version 0.8 of SXP, the Silfide XML Parser, a validating, SAX compliant XML Parser written in Java that implements XML 1.0, the 18-05-1998 version of namespaces, DOM Level 1, XPointers and XLink.

Version 2.1.5 of the Unicode Character Database is now available. This incorporates all changes approved at the Unicode Technical Committee meeting held at the end of July, 1998.

Sunday, September 5, 1998
The second preview release of the Docuverse DOM SDK is now available. This release is now free for commercial as well as non-commercial use. This version provides assorted bug fixes.
Friday, September 4, 1998
Peter Murray-Rust has posted the second alpha of JUMBO2. JUMBO2 is a free, general purpose XML-browser written in Java using Swing.

Robin Cover's moved the popular SGML/XML Web Page to http://www.oasis-open.org/cover/. It's time to update your bookmarks.

Thursday, September 3, 1998
IBM's alphaworks has updated XML for Java, an XML processor written in Java. New features include support for the latest DOM and namespaces draft.
Wednesday, September 2, 1998
UniAPI 1.0 is a free Win32 library that encodes the Unicode standard. A small utility for viewing Unicode characters and their properties is included.
Tuesday, September 1, 1998
Michael Kay's posted version 3.0.3 of SAXON , a Java class library that sits on top of a SAX-compliant XML parser and provides additional services to aid document manipulation and transformation. In general it is designed to help you write applications that need to process a *specific* document type, rather than for general-purpose XML tools.
Monday, August 31, 1998
David Carlisle's written a basic DSSSL style sheet for MathML.
Sunday, August 30, 1998
AT&T and Inria have submitted a proposal to the W3C for an XML Query Language for requesting information from XML documents, integrating XML data from multiple sources, and transforming XML data. Think of it as SQL for XML.
Saturday, August 29, 1998
James Clark has posted a new version of XT, his Java based XSL processor, with many bugs fixed and some new features added.
Friday, August 28, 1998

Richard Tobin posted an RXP-based well-formedness checker

Sgrep-1.71a has been released in binary form Win32 and i386-Linux. Sgrep is a tool to search and index text, SGML, XML and HTML files using structured patterns.

Thursday, August 27, 1998
Due to a trademark conflict, Free-DOM is being renamed the Docuverse DOM SDK. It will also become payware instead of freeware so the name change is more than a little appropriate. The first preview of version that supports the latest W3C Proposed Recommendation for DOM is now available.

miow is an alleged web browser written in Python that can render XML documents, using CSS style sheets.

Wednesday, August 26, 1998
Jeremy Calles has written an XSL processor in Java that supports parts of the current draft of XSL (template rules and most xsl:process rules), but does not implement any flow objects. This package also contains xslSlideMaker, a post-processor that can quickly make slides from XML and XSL.

A new mailing list has been created to discuss Intelligent Agents in XML. To subscribe send email to majordomo@cybercom.net with the words "subscribe xmlagent" in the body of your message.

Tuesday, August 25, 1998

James Clark has updated XT, his free XSL implementation in Java, to fix assorted bugs. Source is included. XT supports the tree construction/transformation half of the latest XSL draft, and is approximately alpha quality. It also implements the latest namespaces draft.

David Megginson's posted an psgml-xpointer.el, an add-on to the PSGML emacs mode that calculates an XPointer to the containing element of any arbitrary point in an XML or SGML document.

IBM's alphaworks has released a new version of RDF for XML, a Java implementation of the RDF XML application for describing, categorizing, rating, and searching data. This update corresponds to the latest W3C RDF draft specification and works with alphaworks' XML for Java 1.0.4.

Monday, August 24, 1998

I'm back from SD98 East in D.C. so this page should be updated more reliably this week. There was a surprising amount of interest in XML expressed by attendees although it was by no means a focus of the show, and most of the XML heavyweights were up in Canada at the XML Developers Conference in Quebec. Extrapolating from the set of attendees at SD98 East to the complete set of U.S. programmers, I'd say that most programmers don't know a lot about XML yet but they definitely want to know more. Although I was there to talk about Java Network Programming, I got a lot more questions about XML.

International Language Engineering Corporation has released OpenFilter 1.0, a free collection of XML-based localization tools for Windows.

Sunday, August 23, 1998
The Open Management Group (OMG) has published a proposal for the XML Metadata Interchange Format (XMI) in PostScript and PDF formats. (<Rhetorical> Can someone explain to me what's wrong with good old HTML for material like this? </Rhetorical>) This would allow UML models to be stored in XML, and is of great interest to object oriented programmers.
Saturday, August 22, 1998
Userland has released version 5.1.3 of the payware product Frontier. This release features numerous fixes that make Frontier more suitable for storing databases of XML content. A demo is available that expires January 1, 1999.
Friday, August 21, 1998
Userland's posted a web based validator for XML files.
Thursday, August 20, 1998
Tech Solutions' blox is a suite for parsing, creating, and manipulating XML documents in Frontier 4 and Frontier 5. Support for parsing, creating, and manipulating DTDs is currently in testing. Current version is 1.0b11 and uses James Clark's expat.
Wednesday, August 19, 1998
The W3C has upgraded the Document Object Model (DOM) Level 1 to proposed recommendation. DOM defines how web pages in both HTML and XML are interpreted as objects by scripting languages like JavaScript.
Tuesday, August 18, 1998

The W3C has posted the first draft of XSL 1.0, the Extensible Style Sheet Language. This release is almost completely different from earlier, unofficial submissions.

The Silfide Working Group has posted yet another SAX compliant validating XML parser written in Java, the Silfide XML Parser (SXP, v0.7). SXP implements XML 1.0, XML Namespaces, Document Object Model Level 1 (DOM Core and XML, WD 20-07-1998), XPointer (WD 03-03-1998), and XLink (WD 03-03-1998)

A new version of XSchema is compliant with the latest namespaces draft.

Frank Boumphrey has posted tutorials on the W3C and IE5 Document Object Models (DOMs) for HTML and XML.

Bill LaForge has updated coins, his free XML based scheme for serializing Java objects, a whole lot of times since the last time I mentioned it here. The latest release includes support for aggregation and a real cache, but there've been lots of other improvements too over the last several weeks.

Monday, August 17, 1998

IBM's alphaworks has released a new version of its RDF for XML software written in Java. This RDF processor builds, queries, and manipulates RDF structures, and it serializes and deserializes them to and from XML forms.

Yoshida Masato has posted an XML Parser Module for Ruby (version 0.3.3) based on James Clark's expat C XML parser. (Software is at http://www.bekkoame.ne.jp/~yoshidam/xmlparser-0.3.3.tar.gz) Ruby is an object oriented, interpreted scripting language.

Sunday, August 16, 1998
Netscape has posted Navigator/Communicator 4.0.6 for Mac, Windows, and Unix on their ftp site. The Windows (and possibly other versions) supports Java 1.1. Otherwise there's nothing new of much use to XML authors.
Saturday, August 15, 1998
Tim Bray's posted a revised version of XML::Parser, a Perl module that uses expat to parse XML.
Friday, August 14, 1998
James Clark has released version 1.0 of his Expat, a free non-validating XML parser written in C. This release fixes a few bugs.
Thursday, August 13, 1998

James Clark has released version 0.4 of his XP XML processor. This release fixes assorted bugs and provides more information about the markup of the document including information about comments, entity references and the document type.

Lars Marius Garshol has proposed a specification for XML Software Autoupdate (XSA), a system for automatically keeping track of new releases of software products.

Wednesday, August 12, 1998

Sebastian Rahtz has posted an updated set of JadeTeX macros, and some unofficial patches to Jade.

John Cowan's posted a new draft of the Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Simple Hypertext DTD (IBTWSH). IBTWSH is a DTD for a small subset of HTML 4.0, adapted to XML syntax, and suitable for embedding HTML like text in XML documents.

Tuesday, August 11, 1998

IBM and Microsoft have submitted a proposal to the W3C for a Document Content Description (DCD) for XML. DCDs would replace DTDs in describing the allowable tags and structure of an XML document. The most notable change in DCD is that it allows for typed data such as dates or integers. To this extent it is based on a subset of the still controversial XML-Data proposal. It is important to remember that this note has no official status, and adoption by the W3C or indeed anyone is not guaranteed.

The IANA has officially picked text/xml and application/xml as the MIME type for XML documents. This is documented in IETF RFC 2376 and the latest full list of MIME types.

Monday, August 10, 1998

The Webstandards Project is a user and web developer consortium dedicated to browbeating the vendors who mostly make up the W3C into providing some minimal reliable level of cross-platform, cross-browser support for technologies like CSS, HTML, and XML. It's been formed by high end web shops and consultants who are tired of the time and effort it takes to develop multiple sites for different browsers. Worth checking out.

The list of speakers, talks, and abstracts for Montreal XML Developers' Conference later this month is now available.

IBM's alphaworks has posted a bug fix release, 1.0.4, of their XML for Java validating parser. This does NOT conform to the 19980720 DOM draft.

Sunday, August 9, 1998
NewHoo! cool site Cafe con Leche has been picked as a Cool Site in the NewHoo Computers/Internet/WWW/XML category. I normally don't pat myself on the back with these things (for Cafe au Lait they're a dime a dozen, and most of them are just efforts to get reciprocal links) but this is the first one Cafe con Leche has won, and NewHoo's a better than average directory, so I thought I'd indulge in a little self-congratulation here.
Saturday, August 8, 1998
The next draft of the XSL specification has missed its end of July target date. It is now rescheduled for approximately August 15 (or July 45 if you prefer :-)
Friday, August 7, 1998
The W3C has posted a new draft of the XML-Namespaces specification. This version uses a new attribute-based syntax for namespace declarations and provides new mechanisms for defaulting and scoping.
Thursday, August 6, 1998
I'm back from Florida and staring at an inbox with over a thousand new messages. It may take me a little while to pour through them and post assorted news from the last week. In the meantime, why don't you go read Pushing Web Sites with CDF, Chapter 10 of XML: Extensible Markup Language which IDG has kindly posted on their web site. Contrary to the credits on that page, this chapter was primarily written by Wanda Jane Phillips of Write Livelihood. amazon.com seems to have the entire book back in stock. Current position in the amazon bestseller list is 4,030.
Thursday, August 1, 1998
Updates are likely to be sporadic to non-existent for the next ten days while I travel. New material should resume on Friday, August 7.

XML: Extensible Markup Language is once again out of stock at amazon.com after less than twelve hours of renewed availability. If you can find a copy buy it quick. They seem to be sell out faster than Seinfeld tickets in New York City. Computer Literacy, however, can ship it from the Web within 24 hours and has copies in all four of its brick and mortar stores.

Wednesday, July 31, 1998

Several correspondents noted that the galaxy on the cover of XML: Extensible Markup Language is the "Sombrero Galaxy". The most detailed response comes from Robert J. Brunner of Caltech's Astronomy Department:

As a professional Astronomer, I thought I would give you a little information on your book cover. The object appears to be the Sombrero Galaxy (Officially known as Messier 104). It has not, nor could it be (at least to my knowledge), been imaged by the Hubble space telescope (it is relatively nearby and hence too large to fit within their aperture). It is a late Sa or early Sb type galaxy that is inclined to us by around 6 degrees -- thus your observations as to an edge on spiral is quite astute.

This page contains links to images of M104, some of which should look very familiar.


The public pictures from HST are viewable at


The only clear example of an HST image is the Java RMI cover which is a dying star.

Dr. Brunner also had an excellent suggestion for the series nickname, but I'll withhold that for a few days to give other readers a chance to send in their own suggestions.

amazon.com has XML: Extensible Markup Language back in stock. Current rank is 18,429. My associates report for last week only shows 12 direct sales. There are probably some sales that didn't go through my links. Regardless, it doesn't seem like it takes that many sales to move a book in their listings. Computer Literacy now has it ready for shipment in 2-3 days, and is offering international buyers free until the end of July.

Tuesday, July 28, 1998

I still don't have my own copies of XML: Extensible Markup Language, but IDG did send me this small picture of the cover:

Near as I can make out that's a side-on view of a spiral galaxy, but I could be wrong.

IDG's official name for this series is "The Professional Series" but that's rather boring, and I don't think that name is used outside of IDG. Other books in the series include my own JavaBeans which has a picture of a nebula, Troy Downing's Java RMI, Bernard van Haecke's JDBC, and Daniel I. Joshi and Pavel A. Vorobiev's JFC: Java Foundation Classes. Cover pictures are below.

JavaBeans cover JDBC Cover JFC Cover Java RMI cover

What do you think this series should be called? Space books? Astrobooks? Hubble books? (All the cover pictures come from the Hubble Space Telescope) Something else? Send me your ideas. I'll post the best ones here, and send a free copy of XML: Extensible Markup Language to the person who submits the most creative, humorous, or original suggestion.

Monday, July 27, 1998

XML-DE is a mailing list for discussion of XML in German. To subscribe send email to listserv@listserv.gmd.de with the message "subscribe xml-de FirstName LastName" in the body of your message.

IBM's alphaworks has released TaskGuide Viewer, an XML-based application for creating wizards. An XML markup language is used to write scripts that describe the steps taken in the wizard.

As you might expect, going out of stock doesn't seem to help a book's sales. XML: Extensible Markup Language dropped below 25,000 on the amazon.com bestseller list over the last couple of days though it's since bounced back to 3,920. This is depressing. I think I'm going to stop tracking this until they get back in stock. Computer Literacy has it in stock at their Vienna, VA store and can ship it from their web site in 7-10 days, and is offering international buyers free shipping until the end of July.

Saturday, July 25, 1998

Microsoft has posted beta 1 of XML Notepad, a tree-based XML editor for Windows. XML Notepad requires IE4 Service Pack 1 or IE5.

XML: Extensible Markup Language reached as high as 390 on the amazon.com bestseller list yesterday and for at least two hours was the number one best-selling XML book before amazon ran out of stock. :-( Despite that little set back, it's continued to climb to 361. Although amazon currently lists the book as not yet published, that is incorrect. Amazon should have more copies soon, and it should also be available at other bookstores, online and off, very shortly. Computer Literacy has it in stock at their Vienna, VA store and can ship it from their web site in 7-10 days, and is offering international buyers free until the end of July.

Friday, July 24, 1998

The W3C has released a new draft of the Resource Description Framework (RDF) specification. This draft makes it clear that RDF does not have to be layered on top of XML, though in practice it likely will be.

XML: Extensible Markup Language reached as high as 1,790 on the amazon.com bestseller list yesterday after debuting at 289,821, probably due to sales from this site and Cafe con Leche. This made it amazon's second best-selling XML book behind Simon St. Laurent's XML: A Primer at 138. XML: Extensible Markup Language was #9 of all XML books at Barnes and Noble, but they didn't have it in stock yet. As I write this XML: Extensible Markup Language is down to 2,355. (Update: as of 10:50 it's jumped back up to 1,163. XML: A Primer is at 219.)

I've been tracking it pretty closely to try to figure out exactly how many sales it takes to move a book where in the rankings. As Dan Gray, a fellow computer book author told me, "this amazon sales ranking is more addicting than the stock market" So far I'm tracking it manually, but this weekend I'm going to use a little Java Network Programming to automate the process so I can track these figures minute by minute. Maybe I'll even write a "book ticker" applet for web sites.

Thursday, July 23, 1998

My latest book, XML: Extensible Markup Language is now available from amazon.com and other purveyors of computer books. More details are below.

The W3C has updated the Document Object Model (DOM) specification. DOM defines how web pages in both HTML and XML are interpreted as objects by scripting languages like JavaScript.

Don Park has released Free-DOM 0.3.0 to support this new version of the DOM specification. Free-DOM is a SAX based java implementation of the DOM.

Wednesday, July 22, 1998

There've been several updates to the XSchema spec since I last mentioned it here, and it is approaching completion. Jack Bolles has compiled a single-document version of the this specification.

NSTL's YMark 2000 is a free program to help test PCs for Year 2000 compliance.

Tuesday, July 21, 1998
Four TidBits editors are suing the purveyors of the Bullseye Gold spam. Way to go TidBits!
Monday, July 20, 1998
Ron Bourret's posted an early version of a DTD-to-XSchema converter. A SAX parser parses a DTD and generates SAX XSchema events. A small SAX application that prints these events to a file, so you can easily convert your DTD files to XSchema files. This has no entity support and works for stand-alone DTDs only.
Sunday, July 19, 1998

MacInTouch has noted an Internet Explorer 4.0 mystery involving unrequested connections to www.iechannelguide.com. It turns out that Mac IE 4.01 ships with an Active Channel named "Internet Explorer for Macintosh Channel" written in the XML-based Channel Definition Format (CDF).

CDF, discussed in Chapter 10 of my upcoming book XML: Extensible Markup Language, allows web sites to automatically notify readers of changes to critical information. Of course what's really going on is that the client machine periodically connects back to the server machine to look for updates, and that's what's happening here. You can eliminate this behavior by removing the channel file DefaultChannels.html from the Explorer inside the Preferences folder inside the System Folder.

Does anyone know if IE 4.0 for Windows does anything similar?

Saturday, July 18, 1998
The W3C has posted the second working draft of the Platform for Privacy Preferences (P3P) Syntax Specification. P3P uses XML and RDF as a way for web browsers and servers to communicate their privacy preferences to each other.
Friday, July 17, 1998
Cristian Matei has translated the XML 1.0 specification into Romanian.
Thursday, July 16, 1998
Netscape has posted the first preview version of Communicator 4.5. Version 4.5 focuses on bug fixes and ease of use enhancements. There aren't any major new features or HTML tags. There do not appear to be any XML support. This release expires October 15.
Wednesday, July 15, 1998
To nobody's great surprise, comp.text.xml passed its vote, 365 to 22 with seven abstentions. The newgroup message should go out shortly.
Tuesday, July 14, 1998

I've received a call for papers for the Hypertexts And Hypermedia: Products, Tools, Methods conference to be held in St. Denis, France, September 23-24, 1999. The conference aims to bring together designers, publishers and users of hypermedia technology on a pragmatic level. Relevant topics for this conference include strategic issues for the future development of hypermedia technology, such as:

  • Design methods and models
  • Experiences in designing
  • Digital library
  • Navigating and querying hypertext
  • Automatic link generation and indexing
  • Automatic information mapping for navigation
  • Authoring tools
  • Methods for evaluation
  • Hypermedia usability and hypermedia ergonomics
  • Internet and distributed hypertext
  • Evaluating hypermedia applications on the Internet
  • Specifying hypermedia applications
  • Computer-aided design
  • Collaboration support
  • Maintenance problems
  • Hypermedia literature and cultural applications
  • Teaching with hypermedia
  • Hypermedia art
  • Digital art
  • Hypermedia and the Electronic publishing Market

Initial drafts of papers are due by February 2, 1999. Contact conf99@labart.univ-paris8.fr for more information.

Monday, July 13, 1998

Henry S. Thompson's released the first beta of his XML editor XED with assorted bug fixes and a few new features including support for ISO Latin-1.

The W3C has released a new draft of the HTTP-ng Architectural Model.

Sunday, July 12, 1998
A mailing list has been established for work on the Extensible Log Format (XLF) specification for web server log files. To subscribe send email to majordomo@cybercom.net with the words "subscribe xlf"as the body of your message.
Saturday, July 11, 1998
MacWorld was fun. There wasn't a whole lot of XML though. Natanya Pitts-Moultis, author of the forthcoming XML in Record Time and co-author of the forthcoming XML Black Book did give a nice if sparsely attended introduction to XML at the end of the show. Bare Bones Software revealed that BBEdit 5.0 will feature at least well-formedness checking and perhaps some third party XML extensions. For the most part, however, XML is still primarily a PC phenomenom.
Friday, July 10, 1998

The voting is closed on naming conventions for XSchema. The results are:

  • Mixed Caps
  • No underscores
  • XML 1.0 specification names

Meanwhile a new version of the XSchema specification has been posted that addresses assorted issues in Section 2.

I'll be at MacWorld NY today (Friday). At 2:00 P.M. I'll be participating in a panel discussion about the state of Java on the Macintosh. Stop by and say hi.

Thursday, July 9, 1998

I'll be at MacWorld NY tomorrow (Friday). At 2:00 P.M. I'll be participating in a panel discussion about the state of Java on the Macintosh. Drop me an email if you've got something you want me to see or talk about. It would help if you include your phone number, especially if you don't have a booth.

I've updated the XML books page.

Tuesday, July 7, 1998
Korea's Techno 2000 Project, Inc. has released the first alpha of CLIP 1.0, an XML editor written in Java 1.1 for for Windows 95 and Solaris.
Monday, July 6, 1998
Joshua Lucas has written a Java XML-RPC client that allows Java applications to use the Frontier XML-RPC framework.
Sunday, July 5, 1998
Don Park is looking for a few good developers to work on the Extensible Log Format (XLF) specification for web server log files. Contact him at donpark@quake.net if you're interested.
Saturday, July 4, 1998
Ron Bourret's posted an initial version of a SAX based Java program to convert XSchemas to DTDs.
Friday, July 3, 1998
Jonathan Marsh of Microsoft has confirmed that the MSXSL ActiveX Control does not work in the IE 5.0 beta. Work is underway on a version that does work with IE 5.0 and is closer to the XSL draft expected at the end of the month.
Tuesday, June 30, 1998
The latest XSchema draft adds sections on XSchema Extensions and XSchema and Namespaces.
Sunday, June 28, 1998

The W3C has decided that HTML 4.0 is the end of the line. Enhancements to what we now know as HTML will be limited to bug fixes and other minor changes. Future versions of HTML will be XML applications that are not compatible with current HTML.

A new HTML working group will be focusing on:

  • Embedding XML in classic HTML
  • Redesigning HTML as a collection of independent XML tag sets; e.g. core, forms, tables, etc.
  • Better support for database/workflow applications, mobile & embedded devices, Web TV,ultra-thin clients for e-commerce, and so on
  • Combining tag sets to match the needs of specific classes of clients
  • Transforming documents from one profile to another.
Friday, June 26, 1998
The HCRC Language Technology Group has released LT XML 1.0, a set of console XML applications and a C language library that provides event and tree pictures of XML documents. LT XML is available on Unix and Windows and is free for non-commercial use. Version 1.0 now supports XML 1.0, understands assorted encodings, including UTF-8, ISO-646, ISO-8859-n, UTF-16 and UCS-2, is a good deal faster than previos releases, and has better documentation.
Thursday, June 25, 1998

A call for votes for comp.text.xml has been posted. Approval is expected.

MIT Press is starting a new peer-reviewed academic journal titled Markup Languages: Theory & Practice to be published quarterly starting with the Winter, 1999 issue. It covers

research, development, and practical applications of text markup for computer processing, management, manipulation, and display. Specific areas of interest include new syntaxes for generic markup languages; refinements to existing markup languages; theory of formal languages as applied to document markup; systems for mark-up; uses of markup for printing, hypertext, electronic display, content analysis, information reuse and repurposing, search and retrieval, and interchange; shared applications of markup languages; and techniques and methodologies for developing markup languages and applications of markup languages.
Wednesday, June 24, 1998

IBM's alphaworks has released XML for Java 1.0 with a free commercial license.

Simon St. Laurent's posted the draft for XSchema attribute declarations.

Tuesday, June 23, 1998
Eve Maler and Steve DeRose posted slides from their XLink Tutorial XML and XLink for the SGML-Knowledgeable (or, How to Go from SGML Geek to XML Geek in One Day).
Monday, June 22, 1998
Dan Brickley's started an informal, unofficial RDF-DEV mailing list for RDF developers. To subscribe send the command "join rdf-dev firstname lastname" in the body of a message to mailbase@mailbase.ac.uk
Sunday, June 21, 1998

James Clark has released a new version of expat, a non-validating XML 1.0 parser toolkit in C. This release is roughly feature complete for the first time. New features in this release include:

  • application can add new encodings to expat
  • expat can pass characters to the application in pure Unicode rather than UTF-8.
  • support for unparsed entities and notations.
  • new functions to determine the location of all events.
  • applications can now access the raw markup of the document along with the parsed result
Saturday, June 20, 1998
Crane Softwrights has posted a Color Key for DSSSL Color Declarations.

Jade's Tex back end and the Jadetex LaTeX macro package have been updated to handle tables.

Friday, June 19, 1998
The W3C has posted a working draft of guidelines for browser manufacturers to make their products more accessible to persons with disabilities. Like many disabled access features, (wheelchair ramps come to mind) these should improve every user's experience if adopted.
Thursday, June 18, 1998

I stopped by PC Expo in New York yesterday and overall it was quite boring. There was almost no XML anywhere. I did hear from one gentlemant the Adobe booth that FrameMaker with XML support is now in private beta, and may be out by the end of the year.

I did note that for the first time in several years most companies on the main show floor managed to resist the urge to label every program, printer, mouse, scanner, hard drive and other gizmo as "Internet ready" or "Web compatible". There was a separate WebX hall that was almost empty of attendees. Finally, the Internet appears to be fading into the background of the computing infrastructure rather than being the "hot new thing."

IBM's alphaworks has updated XML for Java with XPointer support and assorted bug fixes.

Wednesday, June 17, 1998
Michael Kay has updated SAXON, a Java class library providing a range of services on top of SAX that is particularly useful for writing applications to process specific document types. This version features performance improvements, better exception handling, assorted bug fixes and and experimental integration with FREE-DOM.
Tuesday, June 16, 1998
The W3C has promoted SMIL, the Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language, to W3C Recommendation status. SMIL is an XML application for synchronizing television-like audio and video with text and animation.
Monday, June 15, 1998

According to Marc Andreesen of Netscape

the XML working group in the W3C has -- because the Navigator source code is available -- decided Navigator should be the delivery vehicle for the reference implementation of XML.

So they're putting the reference implementation of XML out of the working group into the Navigator source code themselves.

Can anyone confirm or deny this?

Sunday, June 14, 1998
I've updated the books page.
Saturday, June 13, 1998
Jeffrey Ricker is soliciting comments on PIF-XML, an XML application for the the Process Interchange Format.
Friday, June 12, 1998
Infoworld reports that Oracle, IBM and Unisys have submitted a proposal for XMI (Extensible Markup Interchange) to the Object Management Group (OMG). XMI is probably an XML application for UML (Unified Markup Language) and MOF (Meta Object Facility. (How's that for a feast of acronyms?) If anyone knows where the proposed spec can be found, I'd appreciate it if you'd drop me a line. A hunt on Oracle's site didn't turn up anything.
Thursday, June 11, 1998
Microsoft's released the first pre-beta of Internet Explorer 5.0 for Windows 95 and NT. Among other features, this release provides more support for DHTML and CSS, including the ability to use CSS to format XML. The web site appears incompatible with Netscape. (Now why does that not surprise me?)
Wednesday, June 10, 1998
The U.S. Navy's designing an XML application called Weather Observation Markup Format to describe weather observation reports.

David Megginson has released the first beta of XAF, a free Java-based XML Architectural Forms Processor that acts as both a SAX application and a SAX parser. XAF uses any SAX 1.0-conformant parser to parse an XML document, then masquerades as a SAX parser itself so that the client application sees the architectural document instead of the actual XML document.

Tuesday, June 9, 1998
Simon St.Laurent's posted the beginning of the syntax descriptions for XSchema (a proposal to represent DTDs in XML).
Monday, June 8, 1998
John Cowan's posted an XML DTD for basic HTML.
Sunday, June 7, 1998
Bill la Forge has posted a new release of coins which adds two new methods to facilitate the manipulation of named contents.
Saturday, June 6, 1998
John Cowan's posted a revised XSchema draft that combines his and Ron Bourette's proposals.
Friday, June 5, 1998
Vervet Logic has released XML Pro 1.0, a $99.95 payware XML editor for Windows 95/NT.
Thursday, June 4, 1998
Don Park's released FREE-DOM 0.2.4. FREE-DOM is an implementation of W3C Document Object Model (DOM) API in Java. This release fixes assorted bugs and updates the DOM driver framework for increased flexibility.

Ron Bourette's posted a proposed draft specification for XSchema. John Cowan's also revised his different proposed XSchema draft.

Wednesday, June 3, 1998
Peter Flynn's posted version 1.3 of The XML FAQ List
Tuesday, June 2, 1998
John Cowan's posted a proposed draft specification for XSchema.
Monday, June 1, 1998
Bill la Forge has posted a new release of Coins, his XML based Java serialization system. This release fixes various bugs, moves SimpleRepository into the coins package, and allows the cwd repository to work with file-based repositories.
Sunday, May 31, 1998
Tony Graham has released version 0.5 of the tdtd Emacs Macro Package for editing SGML and XML DTDs.
Saturday, May 30, 1998
Simon St. Laurent has set up a web site to track XSchema developments. For those who haven't been following xml-dev, XSchema is, very roughly, an unofficial proposal to replace or supplement DTDs with a similar structure written in well-formed XML.
Friday, May 29, 1998

Lesley West and Peter Murray-Rust have launched the Virtual Hyperglossary (VHG). According to them:

Terminology (glossaries, dictionaries, etc.) are an essential part of providing semantic information ("what does FOO mean?"). The VHG is aimed at providing this in a distributed WWW context as has been developed so that non-experts in terminology can construct their own glossaries. Because these use XML syntax they can interoperate with any XML document and can therefore be used as a simple but powerful way of adding semantics. The VHG approach is deliberately simple so that glossaries can be developed and maintained without special tools.

The VHG is built from existing or emerging standards, at present:

  • XML1.0 for syntax
  • XLink (XML-LINK) for providing structure (e.g to support multilinguality)
  • ISO FDIS 12620 for terminological data categories
The VHG is a philosophy as well as a technology and encourages organisations to develop their terminology for use in a global distributed context. We are already partnering with providers of high-quality content such as learned societies and governmental organisations.

Autodesk, Hewlett-Packard, Macromedia, Microsoft, and Visio have submitted a new XML based Vector Markup Language (VML) to the W3C for consideration as a possible standard. VML is in some sense a competitor to Adobe's previously proposed Precision Graphics Markup Language (PGML). However VML is oriented more towards editing of graphics while PGML concentrates more on display.

Thursday, May 28, 1998
Peter Murray-Rust has released the first alpha of Jumbo 2.0, his general purpose, tree-oriented, free, SAX-compliant XML browser/editor. Jumbo 2.0 is written in pure Java 1.1 with the JFC, but has so far only been tested on Windows 95. Jumbo requires on a SAX compliant parser like AElfred or XP. Jumbo 2.0 is much faster than Jumbo 1.0, but does not yet support namespaces, XSL, XML-DTDs, XLinks, or Xpointers.
Wednesday, May 27, 1998

Jim Whitehead and Murata Makoto have proposed using "text/xml" and "application/xml" as the XML MIME types. "text/xml" is for UTF-8 and similar encodings or any XML file sent via HTTP. "application/xml" is for UTF-16 encodings not sent via HTTP.

James Clark has released version 1.1.1 of his JADE DSSSL formatting engine. This is primarily a bug fix release.

Tuesday, May 26, 1998
The W3C has released a new draft of the XML name spaces specification.
Wednesday, May 20, 1998
Murata Makoto of Fuji Xerox Information Systems has posted example XML documents in various Japanese encodings including UTF-16 (big endian and little endian), UTF-8, iso-2022-jp, shift_jis, and euc-jp.
Tuesday, May 19, 1998

Michael Kay has released SAXON, a Java package that provides a layer of services on top of SAX including

  • support for specific element handlers for each element type, allowing your application to be more modular
  • providing context information about each element, saving your application from having to maintain this itself
  • management of multiple output streams linked to particular elements in the input document, useful when you are splitting an XML document or loading the data into a database
  • an ActiveX interface to make it easy to do an HTML rendition of an XML document from server-side VBScript code on an ASP page
Monday, May 18, 1998

James Clark has reorganized his collection of XML test cases andded a few new test cases.

Bill Laforge has updated the documentation for Coins, his XML based Java serialization package.

Friday, May 15, 1998

Persimmon is working on ML style sheets for XML. Note that in this context ML is the programming language ML, not any markup language. This is a third path alongside CSS and XSL.

NFF, the Notes Flat File Format is an XML based interchange format for the Lotus Notes/Domino platform. The NFF DTD supports the majority of constructs that occur in Notes data such as structured fields, rich text, doclinks, import objects and so on. A Notes import filter for NFF files is also included.

Thursday, May 14, 1998

The W3C's published the first working draft of the requirements for XSL.

IBM's alphaworks has updated XML for Java to support SAX 1.0 and UTF-16 as well as various bug fixes and a few API changes.

James Clark has been busy. He's updated XMLTest, expat and XP.

XMLTest now supports SAX 1.0. XMLTest generates canonical XML useful for testing SAX compliant XML parsers.

expat, a C library for parsing XML, adds support for external general entities.

XP 0.3 adds support for SAX 1.0, increases efficiency of large CDATA sections, and handles exceptions somewhat differently. There are also assorted bug fixes.

Wednesday, May 13, 1998
The W3C has issued version 2 of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS2) as a proposed recommendation. CSS2 adds improved typographic control, downloadable fonts, new positioning properties to control layout, layers, table layout, and automatic numbering of headings and lists. It also features improved support for internationalization and accessibility.
Tuesday, May 12, 1998
Robin Cover's added an "SGML/XML and Literate Programming" section to his massive SGML/XML Web Page. This page collects references to literature programming (publications and ongoing work) within the context of descriptive markup language applications.
Monday, May 11, 1998
David Megginson's posted version 1.0 of SAX, the Simple API for XML. SAX is an event-based Java API for parsing XML documents. SAX fills the same role for XML that JDBC fills for SQL: with SAX, a Java application can work with any XML parser, as long as the parser has a SAX 1.0 driver available. SAX 1.0 drivers for the major parsers will be appearing shortly. SAX is free for both commercial and non-commercial use.
Saturday, May 9, 1998
Michael Kay's DTDGen reads a well-formed XML document and generates a DTD for it. Although it has its limitations you can use it to make first pass DTDs that can be refined by hand or to understand the structure of documents you receive without DTDs. DTDGen is written in Java 1.1 and requires a SAX 1.0 compliant XML parser and SAX 1.0 driver.
Friday, May 8, 1998
U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema has dismissed Microsoft ally Wang's patent infringement suit against Netscape on the grounds that the Videotex system covered by the Wang patents is "generically and fundamentally different" Web browsers. This is very good news for the large community working on extending and improving Mozilla.
Thursday, May 7, 1998
Bill la Forge has posted completeu the overview documentation for his Coins product that serializes JavaBeans into XML. He's also posted a new zip file that bundles the latest documentation and includes an updated performance test.
Wednesday, May 6, 1998
Dr. Dobbs has posted the transcript of Tim Bray's appearance on TechNetcast.
Tuesday, May 5, 1998
Don Park's released a preliminary version of SAXDOM that supports the latest DOM spec (04/16/98). SAXDOM is a Java package for implementing the Document Object Model (DOM) API using the Simple API for XML (SAX). The package is not yet thread-safe.
Monday, May 4, 1998
James Clark has released a new version of expat, the C language XML parser used in Mozilla. This version fixes assorted bugs.

Innovation Partners and CEI have released the first public beta of the IRIS XML DTD GENERATOR. This is a DTD editor.

Sunday, May 3, 1998
David Megginson's posted a gamma (post-beta, pre-release) version of SAX 1.0. This release fixes a few assorted bugs.
Saturday, May 2, 1998
Microstar released version 1.2 of the free AElfred XML parser Version 1.2 supports SAX 1.0 gamma, alternative text encodings, and more powerful entiny resolution.
Friday, May 1, 1998
A new xml-litprog-l mailing list is forming to discuss using XML/XSL/XLink/XPtr for literate programming frameworks and tools. To subscribe send with the body "subscribe xml-litprog-l" to majordomo@ems.uq.edu.au from the account you wish to subscribe from.

Mozilla source code is now available through Concurrent Versions System (CVS).

Thursday, April 30, 1998
Media Design in*Progress's web site is back in action this morning. No word yet on what the problem was.
Wednesday, April 29, 1998

Media Design in*Progress says they've released the $795 payware Interaction 2.0, a plug-in for MacOS web servers that converts XML plus CSS style sheets to HTML on the fly before serving it to browsers. However as of 7:46 P.M. EDT today, the server at their advertised URL is throwing out blank pages.?

% telnet interaction.in-progress.com 80
Connected to interaction.in-progress.com.
Escape character is '^]'.
GET / HTTP/1.0

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Date: Thu, 30 Apr 1998 00:51:03 GMT
Server: CL-HTTP/63.1 (Macintosh Common Lisp; 3.1.4)
Expires: Thu, 30 Apr 1998 00:51:33 GMT
Content-type: text/html
Set-Cookie: id=43QHD;

Connection closed by foreign host.

This of course leads one to wonder whether or not in*Progress is eating their own dog food? Since the server's up and running, that certainly looks like it could be the result of a misbehaving plug-in that's trying to convert XML to HTML and failing. And if the blank pages are indeed a result of bugs in their own product, why you would want to pay $795 to beta test their product?

Tuesday, April 28, 1998
Henry S. Thompson's XED 0.3.1 is now available for Solaris and Windows. XED is a text editor for hand-written, small to medium XML documents.
Monday, April 27, 1998
David Megginson's posted a beta version of SAX 1.0. The SAX interface is now frozen except for bug fixes.
Sunday, April 26, 1998
Userland's started collecting useful DTDs for a public library.

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Copyright 1998 Elliotte Rusty Harold
Last Modified December 31, 1998