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IBM launches first XML search engine

April 27...

New technology crawls the Web to deliver useful XML information to developers

Today at the XML ’99 Europe show in Granada, Spain, IBM launched xCentral, the Internet's first search engine designed to look exclusively for Extensible Markup Language (XML) information on the Web, such as XML documents, document type declarations (DTDs), style-sheets, press releases, tutorials, Web pages and bulletin board postings.

With the targeted information xCentral delivers, programmers and customers can speed up product development cycles, improve time to market, and expand networking and marketplace opportunities by leveraging existing resources of the online XML community. xCentral is a new feature available today on IBM's XML Web site.

For example, if a meteorologist wanted to find information on DTD’s that have already been created about weather patterns which included rainfall, average temperature and barometric pressure, this meteorologist could enter “weather” in xCentral to see what data already exists or find newsgroups that might be interested in sharing information of this type.

xCentral is part of an emerging trend toward "specialized" search engines. With over five million Web pages on the Internet, traditional search engines turn up hundreds of irrelevant matches to simple queries. IBM first introduced this kind of resource last year with jCentral, a similar tool devoted to searching, logging and retrieving Java information and code found on the Web. jCentral has been a great success handling over 40,000 search requests a day.

"xCentral is poised to put XML development in high gear," said Marie Wieck, director of XML technology, IBM. "Weaving XML into the fabric of e-business is a priority for our customers and developers."

xCentral is written primarily in Java and uses XML metadata for more effective search retrieval and cataloging by providing context for the information contained in an XML document. xCentral consists of a Web crawler, search engine and database tool that currently catalogs and stores nearly 100,000 distinct pieces of XML information.

"The XML community will really benefit from this new resource," said Jeffrey Ricker, president of XMLSolutions, developers of the Exeter E-Commerce Engine. "With developers being able to locate XML resources quickly, they will have a powerful tool to produce better applications, with faster delivery to market."

xCentral Technology

Developed in IBM's Almaden Research Center, xCentral automatically crawls the Internet, analyzes the XML resources it finds and then organizes them into the categories most useful for developers. If xCentral cannot immediately locate XML data for a specific user query, it will continue to look for the information and notify the user as soon as the information is found. Using this service, developers can also submit a profile of their interests and as appropriate resources are located on the Internet, they will receive e-mail notification. Developers can also submit XML resources of their own.


IBM has many resources, including 500 developers, devoted to creating XML technologies and advancing the standard. With 20 XML technologies available to developers via its alphaWorks Web site, IBM has provided the building blocks its partners and ISVs need to create XML applications and solutions.

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