The effort floated by Bowstreet Software aspires to bring an XML-based standard to the world of directory services software, a niche populated by many of the largest software companies in the world.
Use of XML as a means to exchange information housed in directories could essentially streamline the way a myriad of directory storage areas on a network communicate data about users, systems, and software applications. Furthermore, it could lead to the development of a directory-based applications market in which developers do not have to write to a specific data format used by a particular directory.
XML is becoming increasingly popular as a way to link disparate computer systems to exchange information. The technology's popularity is being driven by two overriding trends. The growth in business-to-business e-commerce has necessitated an Esperanto of sorts for exchanging information in areas ranging from purchase orders to part descriptions. And in big corporations, the rush to make internal data locked in custom back-end systems available to new Web-based applications has heightened the need for a cross-platform development.
As a variant of the widely used HTML, XML is simple to learn and works over the nearly ubiquitous Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP), the underlying protocol of the Web, analysts said.
The Bowstreet XML-based extensions will be called directory services markup language, or DSML.
The company said it plans to submit its work to "appropriate standards bodies." More information on the initiative can be found on the group's Web site.
Bowstreet is a start-up that intends to use XML and directory-based technology to build software applications for business-to-business commerce. The company's software is expected to debut later this summer.