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W3C to combine Web specs

The Web standards body advances a specification that makes it easier to combine Document Object Model and XPath, two popular technologies for Web documents.

The Web's leading standards body has advanced a specification that makes it easier to combine two increasingly popular technologies for building Web documents.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) issued on Monday the Document Object Model (DOM) Level 3 XPath Specification as a candidate recommendation, the penultimate phase in the consortium's recommendation process.

The new candidate recommendation marries two established technologies, DOM and XPath, the W3C said.

The DOM, which became a recommendation in 1998 and has undergone several updates since then, is the W3C's application programming interface (API) that lets programs and scripting languages such as JavaScript act on individual elements of a Web page. XPath, first recommended in 1999, is the consortium's way of addressing a specific part of an XML document.

"More and more, new developing standards at the W3C are making use of XPath," W3C spokeswoman Janet Daly said. "Given that it's being used more often and that the DOM is stable, this spec maps the two. XPath is providing more precision for the DOM, and the DOM is bringing XPath what the spec calls 'liveness' of data."

"Liveness," according to the specification, describes data that changes as the underlying document structure changes.

The W3C expects the new spec's candidate recommendation phase to last through May 26.