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AFRIK-IT  November 1998

AFRIK-IT November 1998

Subject:

Re: DML:XML for international Development

From:

Steve Song <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

African Network of IT Experts and Professionals (ANITEP) List

Date:

Tue, 10 Nov 1998 11:59:55 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (55 lines)

Christopher,

Let me begin with a quotation from the XML FAQ (http://www.ucc.ie/xml/)

"Information on a network which connects many different types of computer
has to be usable on all of them. Public information cannot afford to be
restricted to one make or model or manufacturer, or to cede control of its
data format to private hands. It is also helpful for such information to be
in a form that can be reused in many different ways, as this can minimize
wasted time and effort."

There is a substantial difference between Lotus Notes which is an
APPLICATION and XML which is a STANDARD.  Moreover it is an OPEN STANDARD
which means that it is non-proprietary and available for anyone to use.
Good applications embrace open standards.

XML was developed by the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) the same
consortium that has developed HTML.  XML is likely to be as important to
the future development of the Web/Internet as HTML was to its creation.
Where HTML allows you to apply style and formatting to information, XML
allows you to apply 'semantic' tags to information.  Effectively, XML will
blur the distinction between structured data (databases) and free text.
This should allow better organisation of information, faster and more
powerful searching, etc.

It may surprise you to know that Lotus/IBM have been involved in the
development of the XML standard, as have Microsoft, Netscape and a host of
other corporations.   Most major database and information sharing software
companies have announced planned support for XML.   The reality of this is
that you will be able to share information without being tied to a
manufacturer.  You and the World Bank and CIDA can use Lotus Notes and
perhaps some of the rest of us will use free GNU public licensed software
BUT the power of XML is that we should be able to have a common information
sharing standard no matter what software or platform we choose.

What Bellanet is proposing is an XML standard for development activities
with the aim of increasing transparency, reducing duplication of effort and
hopefully helping us to learn from each other.  They hired a consultant to
draft a standard because it is early days yet with XML and XML is a complex
standard which needs some articulation to understand it relevance and
potential for the development community.   XML and the proposed subset DML
are OPEN STANDARDS.  Nobody owns them, everybody owns them.

-Steve



______________________________________________________________
Steve Song <[log in to unmask]>
<http://www.idrc.ca/unganisha>
Senior Technical Advisor
International Development Research Centre
P.O. Box 8500, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1G 3H9
Tel. +1 613 236 6163 x2268  Fax +1 613 567 7748

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