Ben Ramsey

Happy 10th Birthday, XML!

W3C XML 10th anniversary As you may have already noticed, I’ve started focusing a lot of my attention on XML, specifically with regard to the Atom Publishing Protocol. Now, please don’t confuse this attention with the giddy excitement of a newbie encountering XML for the first time and thinking of it as the greatest thing since sliced bread. On the contrary, that moment happened for me back in 2001 when I bought the first editions of Learning XML and XML in a Nutshell. Rather, I’ve simply come full-circle to a renewed appreciation for the syntax. In these days when people are singing the praises of JSON and other data interchange formats, I still think XML is the best format for exchanging data between disparate systems.

This year marks the tenth anniversary — or birthday, if you will — of the Extensible Markup Language. Version 1.0 of the W3C recommendation was published on February 10, 1998. In a press release covering this occasion, Tim Bray said:

There is essentially no computer in the world, desk-top, hand-held, or back-room, that doesn’t process XML sometimes. This is a good thing, because it shows that information can be packaged and transmitted and used in a way that’s independent of the kinds of computer and software that are involved. XML won’t be the last neutral information-wrapping system; but as the first, it’s done very well.

According to the press release, there will be “a variety of activities and events” planned throughout the year “to recognize and thank the dedicated communities and individuals responsible for XML for their contributions.” Since this is also the tenth anniversary of open source and the tenth anniversary of OSCON, I wonder if there will be any XML “birthday” festivities at OSCON this year. It already sounds like it’s going to be one big 10th anniversary party; I can’t wait to see who shows up for the fun. :-)

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