XML to Extend, Mobilize, Link, Software AG Says

SINGAPORE (04/05/2000) - XML (Extensible Markup Language) will enable companies to extend their business to the Web, mobilize information onto different hardware platforms, link to their partners and integrate supply chains, according to Chris Horak, vice president of worldwide marketing for Software AG.

"XML is the only game in town," he said in a presentation at the Comdex Asia show here today. "It is easy, independent of programming languages and the only viable option to provide push-button Web publishing."

XML is a standards-based mark-up language in which content carries a description of itself which can be used by other applications to extract relevant information.

Being able to send data simultaneously to PC browsers, WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) enabled phones and even newer devices, will be important for maximizing user benefits on the Web, according to Horak.

"Within a few years, we won't be calling it a mobile phone but a personal communicator," he said. "Most people using it will not even know that they're on the Internet, they'll just be communicating."

Content providers will have to push content out to all these different devices without rewriting their internal systems. This will require the data definition capabilities of XML, which will make information portable, according to Horak.

In Software AG's view, content and data will pass through an XML information server and be automatically sent out in the correct format to a variety of devices. After two years' work, Software AG released its Tamino XML information server last October, followed by its Xenon (XML-enabled open network) applications architecture in January.

It will also provide a standard for getting at legacy data, which could be important where companies are legally required to keep information for several years, even though that information only existed fleetingly in electronic form.

That legacy data may now be held in many different formats, Horak said.

"Data warehousing only happened because of 30 years of non-compatible databases," he said. "They created an entire industry. We now have to find a way to ensure the long-term viability of information on the Web."

The potential market for XML is huge, which is why Software AG has made it such an important part of its business, according to Horak.

Comdex Asia runs until Friday.

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