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XML close to standard

The World Wide Web Consortium issues a recommendation that Extensible Markup Language become a standard.

The World Wide Web Consortium today issued a recommendation that Extensible Markup Language (XML) become a standard, putting the nascent format one step closer to greater acceptance on the Web.

XML is a metalanguage that provides an infrastructure for creating and describing markup languages, such as HTML. Proponents believe XML will add flexibility in the categorization of networked data because it allows developers to create their own markup tags without having them approved as part of a standard specification.

Proponents also feel that moving to a new generation of XML-based applications for publishing and content management is necessary to cope with the burgeoning amount of information on both public and private networks. It is not a simple shift, however, as XML browsers will be necessary to view XML-based documents.

But many software companies already are developing XML tools and applications, several of which are scheduled to debut at this week's Internet World trade show as well as the SGML/XML 97 show in Washington.

With the W3C recommendation, XML is close to becoming a standard. The W3C's 229 member companies now have approximately six weeks to review the specification, make "minor corrections," and vote, the organization said in a statement. The proposal becomes a standard when the member companies reach a consensus.