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Last modified: June 22, 1999
Product Data Markup Language (PDML)

"Product Data Markup Language (PDML) is an Extensible Markup Language (XML) vocabulary designed to support the interchange of product information among commercial systems (such as PDM systems) or government systems (such as JEDMICS). PDML is being developed as part of the Product Data Interoperability (PDI) project under the sponsorship of the Joint Electronic Commerce Program Office (JECPO), and supported by several other Federal Government agencies and commercial entities. Three major PDM vendors are active participants in the PDI program and are developing prototype implementations of PDML. The initial focus of PDML development is legacy product data systems that support the operation of the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA)."

"PDML is a suite of domain-specific vocabularies that are integrated through a single, abstract vocabulary. The vocabularies are related via mapping specifications and translation between the vocabularies is accomplished via the PDML Toolkit. For a more complete explanation of the structure, please see the PDML White Paper. As part of the program, the PDI project is soliciting reviews and feedback on PDML technical specifications. The table below provides the latest versions of the elements that comprise PDML. A PDML news group has been created for the discussion of the PDML specification. This group can be accessed at The group is open to all individuals interested in discussing this specification."

[June 21, 1999] A communiqué from William C. Burkett (Product Data Integration Technologies, Inc., P.D.I.T.) reported on the development of a small XML tool called 'FirstSTEP EXML' that is being made available to the product data exchange/XML community. FirstSTEP EXML is a software tool which may be used to to convert an EXPRESS schema into an equivalent XML DTD. The conversion algorithm is faithful to the semantics and structure of the EXPRESS language and, as a result, is very literal in the way that the EXPRESS entity declarations map to the DTD element declarations. P.D.I.T. is providing this tool free-of-charge to anyone interested in experimenting with EXPRESS schemas and XML DTDs. Bill Burkett writes: "As a data encoding language, XML is a very flexible and 'Internet-friendly', but it lacks many of the semantic features that data management professionals expect and applications require to ensure data semantics and integrity. Therefore, the PDI project adopted EXPRESS (ISO 10303-11) as the data specification language that governs the semantics of data exchanged with an XML encoding; see or This necessitated a mapping from EXPRESS to XML DTD." The background to this work: "P.D.I.T. is the principle contractor for a program called Product Data Interoperability (PDI), an initiative sponsored by JECPO (Joint Electronic Commerce Program Office), and supported by USAF (U.S. Air Force), and DLA (Defense Logistics Agency). The objective of PDI is to demonstrate a prototype XML-based data exchange between different commercial Product Data Management (PDM) systems. This data exchange will effected with an XML vocabulary known as Product Data Markup Language (PDML). PDML is based on a international product data exchange standard known as STEP (STandard for the Exchange of Product model data - ISO 10303), on which, see or" Comments, questions, and feedback on FirstSTEP EXML may be sent to

The PDML Web site contains a collection of specifications and samples for the relevant EXPRESS schemas, XML DTDs, XML data, and mapping tables.


  • PDML Home Page

  • (PDML Technical Information

  • PDML news group

  • PDI Project Information - "The Product Data Interoperability (PDI) project in an initiative to prototype and demonstrate the exchange of data between different commercial Product Data Management (PDM) systems. This project is being developed under DOD contract F34601-98-D-0015 D/O#4 (0015.98022)."

  • FirstSTEP EXML - "a software tool which may be used to to convert an EXPRESS schema into an equivalent XML DTD."

  • PDIT Home Page

  • "PDML: A New Paradigm for Product Data Exchange and Integration." White Paper, by William Burkett. April 30, 1999. Abstract: "Product Data Markup Language (PDML) is a set of XML vocabularies and a usage structure for deploying product data on the Internet and making it visible to DoD weapon system support personnel. PDML offers a new paradigm for product data exchange based on existing technology that facilitates the integration and interoperability of business processes across the DoD and contracting organizations, particularly among those using PDM systems for process control and product data management. The Internet provides a ubiquitous platform for connectivity; XML provides a web-friendly and well-understood syntax for the exchange of data; and STEP/ISO 10303 provides a methodology for satisfying and integrating the information needs of the diverse collection of data-usage communities that comprise the DoD weapon system support personnel. PDML defines a set of Application Transaction Sets (ATS) that define the data requirements for communities defined by the users of particular legacy systems and standards. The Integration Schema is an encompassing generalization of the ATSs that provides an integrated view across the ATSs. Mapping specifications define the relationships between the specialized vocabularies in the ATSs and the generic vocabulary in the Integration Schema." [local archive copy]

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