Microsoft releases XML kit, specification

Microsoft Corp. on Friday released a beta version of its XML (Extensible Markup Language) for Analysis software development kit and an updated XML for Analysis protocol specification, giving developers tools needed to write XML-based applications aimed at spurring the deployment of sophisticated analytical databases across multiple platforms.

XML for Analysis is a new online analytical processing protocol that enables the transfer of information between analytical databases and client applications, regardless of the language used to write the application, Microsoft said in a release. It leverages not only the open Internet standard XML, but also SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) and HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol).

The new protocol is designed to standardize the data access interaction between a client application and an analytical data provider such as OLAP (online analytical processing) and data mining. More than 50 industry-leading vendors contributed to XML for Analysis, which Microsoft described as a vendor and platform independent extension to its OLEDB (object linking and embedding database) for OLAP and OLEDB for Data Mining protocols.

With the release of XML for Analysis, developers are able to add analytic capabilities to any client for any device or platform using any major programming language, Microsoft said. The beta version of XML for Analysis is available for download at http://www.microsoft.com/data/xml/ XMLAnalysis.htm.

On Monday, the United Nations Center for Trade Facilitation and E-business and the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) announced they were working to integrate the Microsoft-backed SOAP 1.1 and SOAP with Attachments specifications into the ebXML Messaging Specification. The move laid to rest industry concerns about interoperability issues between SOAP and ebXML (electronic-business XML). IBM Corp., Sun Microsystems Inc. and other vendors are backers of ebXML.

SOAP provides basic information about an electronic document when it's received by a business partner -- a procedure referred to as "enveloping." Officials of OASIS said Monday that the SOAP specifications for enveloping were similar enough to a version planned for ebXML that they could support both methods. The converged specification is scheduled to be released March 26. [See "Microsoft rivals adopt its spec for B2B messaging," Feb. 26.] Last week, OASIS opened the search for four executives to serve on its board of directors. Nominations begin on April 2 and are open to the entire industry. Eight directors, each serving two years, comprise the board.

Microsoft in Redmond, Washington, can be reached at +1-425-882-8080 or at http://www.microsoft.com/.

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