The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) says its membership has reviewed the first release of a specification for Extensible Markup Language (XML), found it to be stable and is recommending that it be adopted by the software industry.
XML 1.0 is a subset of Standard Generalised Markup Language (SGML) -- the international standard language for defining the structure and content of electronic documents -- that is specifically intended for use on the World Wide Web. According to W3C, XML 1.0 keeps the basic features of SGML, which include vendor independence, user extensibility and human readability, but is much easier to use and understand. The language is seen as augmenting, rather than replacing, HTML, which according to the W3C was under pressure by different Web communities to grow in different directions to meet their specific needs. Because processors that conform to XML 1.0 are required to support the Unicode character set, the spec is fully internationalised for European and Asian languages, according to the W3C.
Among the group of vendors involved in creating the specification through participation in the W3C's XML Working Group are Adobe, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Netscape, and Sun Microsystems. The group released its proposal for the specification in December.
More information on XML and W3C can be found at http://www.w3.org/XML/.