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Roundtable: What do you see as the most important emerging XML standard?

It seems every day there's a new XML proposal or protocol. It can be confusing. So we asked the keynote speakers at XMLEdge 2001 to briefly outline what they thought was the most important emerging XML standard. Here's what the experts had to say...

Our Roundtable Panel Members
Dr. Charles Goldfarb Dirk Slama Steve Benfield Annrai O'Toole Dave Chappell
Father of XML Technology CEO
Shinka Technologies
Cape Clear
Sonic Software

Welcome to this Roundtable Q&A. We posed our roundtable question to several leading authorities to gain insight from the experts in the trenches.

searchMiddleware: What do you see as the most important emerging XML standard?

Dr. Charles Goldfarb:
"XPointer. One of the biggest problems on the Web is the miserable navigation. A link has to take you to the top of a page -- even if the interesting part is near the bottom -- unless the designer put in anchor tags. XPointer lets you link anywhere in a page without the page designer having to do a thing. The standard is only supposed to be for XML, but an implementation should be able to handle HTML reasonably well. After all, they're both SGML."

Dirk Slama:
"We first need to get the core communication standards such as XML Schema, SOAP, and WSDL straight, especially with respect to interoperability. This might take a couple more iterations, but we are getting there.

On top, there are very promising higher-level frameworks, such as the OASIS Business Transaction Protocol (BTP), a transaction protocol with takes the loosely coupled nature of Web Services into account. IBM has started some very interesting work with the Web Service Endpoint Language (WSEL), which deals with establishing service level agreements between Web Service providers and subscribers."

Steve Benfield:
"SAML. Security Assertion Markup Language. This is the standard for passing security assertions from process to process. Using SAML one process can authenticate a user and then call another and tell the other process that this user is a certain type of trusted user-without necessarily giving the user's identity away.

For example, system one can authenticate and determine that you are a premium user and have paid your fees for the year. System one then calls system two and tells system two about your status. System two can determine whether to provide its service based on your security assertion-however system two doesn't need to know exactly who you are-just what your assertions are. SAML is needed to help complete the Web services picture just as transactions are needed."

Annrai O'Toole:
"SOAP is without doubt the key to Web Services. Utilizing existing network infrastructures such as Http and Smtp makes way for widespread usage of Web Services across the enterprise.

We are very interested in the potential applications of Web Services with Smtp which opens very exciting new opportunities."

Dave Chappell:
"E-business today is based on or has its origins in XML. XML will continue to be the way in which data is represented, services are described, and interactions are defined. As for emerging XML standards, I would say that SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) and ebXML (Electronic Business XML) may have the greatest impact on how applications will communicate with one another and just how successful Web services becomes."


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Bio of Dr. Charles Goldfarb [ Back to Top ]
The Father of XML Technology
Dr. Goldfarb invented the SGML language in 1974 and later led the team that developed it into the International Standard on which both HTML and XML are based. He serves as Editor of the Standard (ISO 8879) and as a consultant to developers of SGML and XML applications and products.

While at IBM Dr. Goldfarb led the project that invented SGML's precursor, GML, in 1969, for which he coined the term "markup language". He edits Prentice-Hall's "Definitive XML Series from Charles F. Goldfarb" and co-authored "The XML Handbook" and the "SGML Buyer's Guide". He has been profiled in Forbes and other publications, and the Seybold Report cited his "SGML Handbook" as the definitive reference on SGML.

Dr. Goldfarb is an Honorary Fellow of the Society for Technical Communication and holds the PIA Gutenberg Award. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Columbia College.

Bio of Dirk Slama [ Back to Top ]
CEO of Shinka Technologies
Dirk Slama spearheads the Shinka mission to transform diverse corporate IT systems into unified e-business environments. As CEO and co-founder, Dirk Slama provides strategic and operational direction for all facets of the company's business, with a focus to achieving industry leadership in the e-business integration marketplace. With a deep commitment to excellence, Dirk Slama has assembled a top-notch team, with technical experts focused on delivering quality products and professional services, and support by a skilled marketing and sales operation. An internationally recognized expert in enterprise application integration (EAI), Dirk Slama is the author of "Enterprise CORBA," a top-selling book on systems integration strategies.

Bio of Steve Benfield [ Back to Top ]
CTO of SilverStream
Steve Benfield is Chief Technology Officer. He joined SilverStream as the Director of eBusiness Strategy when the company acquired Bondi Software in December 2000. Steve has more than 15 years of experience delivering innovative Web & IT solutions. Steve helped form Bondi Software in 1998 and has served as VP of Consulting and Chief Technology Officer. His duties at Bondi included strategic management, technology direction & training, and business development. Prior to Bondi, Steve was Director of Technology for Financial Dynamics (FDI), a 225 person IT consulting organization, where he managed FDI's Sybase relationships and was head of the PowerBuilder consulting practice. While at FDI, Steve researched Java-based Internet solutions and was instrumental in FDI's Java research initiatives. During this R&D period, Steve helped form FDI's SilverStream practice which led to the formation of Bondi after FDI merged with Ciber.

Bio of Annrai O'Toole [ Back to Top ]
CEO of Cape Clear
O'Toole leads the corporate strategy and plays an active role in the ongoing management of Cape Clear. Prior to joining Cape Clear, O'Toole founded and served as Executive Vice President and Chief Technical Officer of IONA Technologies. O'Toole remains on the board of IONA and several other new technology companies.

O'Toole began his career working with many European and international standards bodies to develop standards for software interoperability. With these and other initiatives, he has helped define the direction of the computer industry. He holds an MSc in Computer Science and an Electronic Engineering degree from Trinity College, Dublin.

Bio of Dave Chappell [ Back to Top ]
CTO of Sonic Software
David Chappell is vice president and chief technology evangelist for Sonic Software Corp. Dave has over 18 years of industry experience building software tools and infrastructure for application developers, spanning all aspects of R&D, sales, marketing, and support services. Dave has also been published in Network World magazine, Java Developers Journal, XML Journal and Java Report. Dave has presented technical topics at numerous speaking engagements including JavaOne, XMLOne, and XMLDevCon. David Chappell is co-author of "The Java Message Service", published by O'Reilly & Associates. This book is currently the first and only book on JMS available in the market today.

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