XML: the next frontier.
The chances are pretty good that you've heard the term XML XML
in full Extensible Markup Language.
Markup language developed to be a simplified and more structural version of SGML. It incorporates features of HTML (e.g., hypertext linking), but is designed to overcome some of HTML's limitations. . As ubiquitous as the term has become, the chances are also good that you wonder just how it will make your life easier. Although the XML standard was published in 1998, we are just now only beginning to see the power that it can deliver. Across the next few years, XML will blossom to become a major factor in how associations and nonprofit organizations transmit and communicate data.
The Extensible Markup Language See XML.
(language, text) Extensible Markup Language - (XML) An initiative from the W3C defining an "extremely simple" dialect of SGML suitable for use on the World-Wide Web.
http://w3.org/XML/. (XML) was created to describe data. It was created by the XML Working Group, a group endorsed by the World Wide Web Consortium. The W3C (World Wide Web Consortium, www.w3.org) An international industry consortium founded in 1994 by Tim Berners-Lee to develop standards for the Web. It is hosted in the U.S. by the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at MIT (www.csail.mit.edu/index.php). is the same group that created and maintains the HTML HTML
in full HyperText Markup Language
Markup language derived from SGML that is used to prepare hypertext documents. Relatively easy for nonprogrammers to master, HTML is the language used for documents on the World Wide Web. standard. Although the W3C provided XML as a tool for us to describe data, it only meets us halfway. It is our task to create either a Document Type Definition (DTD (Document Type Definition) A language that describes the contents of an SGML document. The DTD is also used with XML, and the DTD definitions may be embedded within an XML document or in a separate file. ) or an XML Schema The definition of an XML document, which includes the XML tags and their interrelationships. Residing within the document itself, an XML schema may be used to verify the integrity of the content. to standardize the definition of our data.
You may wonder how this affects associations. Ask yourself these questions: When you chose your association management software, how difficult was it to migrate your existing data into the new AMS AMS - Andrew Message System ? If you import any of your member data into other applications (such as the Web), how difficult is it to synchronize the data? By having a standardized data definition, data migration and synchronization tasks are simplified. This will result in significant cost savings to associations.
But who will create the DTD? To ensure universal acceptance, a community of association professionals and vendors must work together to create the data definition. The Association Data Standards Consortium was created last year to do just that. The objectives of the ADSC ADSC Adobe Document Structuring Conventions
ADSC Active Duty Service Commitment
ADSC Address Status Changed
ADSC Army Development and Selection Centre (UK MoD)
ADSC Automatic Data Service Center are to create standards, specifications, and business practices to improve electronic business for associations and the businesses that serve them. Their definition of association is general--it includes trade associations, nonprofits, foundations, and other member-centric organizations, such as chambers of commerce. The standards the ADSC creates will be available free of charge to the association community. At that time, it will be important for the ADSC to pressure the vendors to adopt and adhere to adhere to
verb 1. follow, keep, maintain, respect, observe, be true, fulfil, obey, heed, keep to, abide by, be loyal, mind, be constant, be faithful
2. the standards.
XML will play an important role within your constituency as well. Your members may have already begun the process of creating their own data definitions. Some of the early adopters were the chemical and mathematical industries. In these industries, defining a way to communicate complex formulas electronically was a real issue. Other industries, such as the medical industry, have established definitions to improve the electronic transmission of their data. If the industry that your association serves hasn't already done so, you should encourage your members to create a forum to establish and promote XML data standards within your industry.
You may already be using XML within your organization without realizing it. Behind the scenes, software developers have used XML to provide a greater degree of interoperability within software applications. XML has improved the software we already have and has given us the ability to create exciting new technologies as well. XML is the cornerstone of Web services. XHMTL, the next generation of HTML, uses XML to standardize the definition and use of markup tags in HTML.
Whether you realized it or not, XML has already influenced the way many software applications handle information. Although we have already begun to see its benefits, this is just the tip of the iceberg tip of the iceberg
n. pl. tips of the iceberg
A small evident part or aspect of something largely hidden: afraid that these few reported cases of the disease might only be the tip of the iceberg. . Because of the ADSC and the standards it will create, we will soon enjoy major enhancements in the way we store and communicate our data electronically. I recommend that you support ADSC, or at least keep a close eye on its progress. Our future is in its hands.
For links to ADSC and other XML-related information, visit PragmatiQ's Web site at www.pragmatiq.com.
Woody Medina is the president of PragmatiQ, Silver Spring, Maryland Not to be confused with Silver Springs.
Silver Spring is an urbanized, unincorporated area in Montgomery County, Maryland, USA. After Baltimore and Columbia, Silver Spring is the third most populous Census Designated Place in Maryland. . E-mail: email@example.com.
PragmatiQ specializes in creating custom Web and database applications for associations and nonprofits. By partnering with our clients in the development process, we are able to provide tailored solutions that both exceed expectations and stay within budget.
Our certified technical staff is highly experienced in creating complex Web applications using virtually any development platform--Microsoft (IIS (Internet Information Services) Microsoft's Web server. IIS runs under the server versions of Windows, adding HTTP server capability to the Windows operating system. , ASP, SQL Server, .NET) or open source (Apache, PHP (PHP Hypertext Preprocessor) A scripting language used to create dynamic Web pages. With syntax from C, Java and Perl, PHP code is embedded within HTML pages for server side execution. , MySQL). As a result, we are able to leverage the systems that our clients have in house instead of forcing them to purchase expensive new hardware.
Woody Medina, President PragmatiQ Inc.
817 Silver Spring Ave., Suite 305 A
Silver Spring, MD 20910
301-770-2029; fax: 301-770-2866