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Last modified: September 13, 2001
Re-Useable Data Language (RDL)

[August 07, 2000] e-Numerate Solutions Incorporated (ESI) "has invented a new computer language that has the potential to revolutionize the way people work with numbers. Our technology is RDL. Numerical data formatted in RDL can be manipulated on the Internet with the same point-and-click ease now available only for text. Click your mouse over a number on today's Web - and nothing happens. Click on RDL data, by contrast, and see it automatically transformed into a graph. You can easily plot data from different sources on the same graph. Soon, instant calculations and advanced data searches will be possible on RDL data, too - with only a mouse click or two...

Re-useable Data Language works in a similar fashion as HTML works for text. Text files written in HTML contain embedded tags that tell the browser how the words should look. RDL tags are attached to numbers. The embedded tags tell Numerator Lite what the numbers actually represent (e.g. feet, yen, home runs) and how they relate to other numbers. In other words, the tags make the numbers smart. RDL is an application of eXtensible Style Language (XML). The tags tell Numerator Lite how to interpret the numbers so that it can create different views of the numbers, including charts, TreeViews, and spreadsheets. The tags also let you easily move around numbers within tables, or grab numbers from disparate tables and compare and contrast them. Wherever a number goes, its tags go along, too. With RDL, other functions can easily be performed on the numbers, too - from simple calculations to complex formulations."

"The cornerstone of e-Numerate's technology is a platform called RDL. This enabling technology successfully addresses many of the barriers confronted today when working with data. Specifically, RDL makes it possible to automate routine functions involved in data analysis - such as typing data into a spreadsheet - and simplify complicated data analysis tasks - such as applying analytical routines. RDL captures the following intelligence about data in an RDL file: (1) Measure. RDL captures all of the needed indicators to describe the unit the number stands for (meters, feet, home runs), the size and magnitude (thousands, millions, billions), and modifiers that may have been used to manipulate the number (adjusted for inflation using a 1997 index). (2) Format. RDL instructs software applications how data is to be formatted and displayed on a chart or in a spreadsheet. (Chart legend and title, whether to put commas in numbers of more than 4 digits, how many places to show to the left of a decimal point). (3) Provenance. RDL captures information on the source of the data (who created the RDL file and when, how to contact them, when the data was released, when data updates are scheduled, and licensing information). (4) Value. RDL tells software applications that read the RDL file how to handle uncommon elements, such as foreign characters, zeros, blanks, and missing values. (5) Structure. RDL includes instructions about how data is to be arranged and organized. (How many rows and columns of data should there be? Is the data in a time series?) (6) Semantics. RDL describes how the data relates to other data formats. This makes it possible for RDL to work with data in other format..."

"e-Numerate has invented a second enabling technology, RXL, as a new computer markup language for mathematical equations. STEP 1: RXL digitizes and saves math equations in a file. The equations can range from simple formulas - adjust for inflation - to complex calculus. RXL also captures the source of the macro - who wrote it and when. STEP 2. Software can be created to apply these equations automatically to RDL data, with a simple mouse-click, requiring no programming skills or knowledge of math. RXL equations are reusable and can be transmitted and shared just like any computer file. STEP 3: e-Numerate has created software to apply RXL equations to RDL data. We are also developing tools to make it easy for others to create and digitize their own mathematical routines..."

Background: At ESI, we believe that numbers are much harder and more cumbersome to browse, use, share and process than they ought to be today, given the advanced computer technology now available. From a technological standpoint, in fact, numbers should be at least as easy to see and manipulate as digital text. A markup language that can be used effectively with numbers - XML - has begun to catch fire in the Web world and is considered by many experts to be the computer language of the future because of its versatility. Early on, ESI anticipated XML's rise. Our markup language is fully XML compliant. The ESI philosophy is that users should be able to do virtually everything with a mouse. The easier it is for you to find, analyze and manipulate data, the more time and energy you'll have to explore the secrets lurking behind the numbers. At ESI, we are committed to making our revolutionary technology widely available. That is why we are giving away Numerator Lite for free..."


  • Home Page

  • RDL description

  • Annotated RDL Document type (DTD) [cache]

  • RXL for 'creating portable analytical routines'.

  • "Numerator Lite Certified by Sun Microsystems and" - "Sun Microsystems has certified Numerator Lite v 1.0 as 100 percent pure Java. This certification means Numerator Lite can be run on any Java platform. Some platforms that would apply are Macintosh, Windows, LINUX, and SUN operating systems. Application certification was based on JDK 1.2 and tested on Windows NT 4.0, running on PII 400mhz, and Solaris 2.7, running on Sun Ultra 5. The verification was received in good order with the correct content and directory structure. has certified that Numerator Lite v. 1.0 is 100 percent compatible with XML."

  • [September 13, 2001] "The Race To Make Numbers Useful. XML-like Standards Aim to Enable Analysis of Data Posted Online." By L. Scott Tillett. In InternetWeek #877 (September 10, 2001), page 15. "The problem with numbers on the Web these days is that they're buried in an environment designed for text. Pulling numerical data off of a Web site and running it in an analytical application requires cutting and pasting or retyping. And good luck if you need to convert euros to dollars before plugging the numbers into your app... Efforts are multipronged, with vendors working on proprietary standards for defining, sharing and translating numerical data via the Web. Others such as e-Numerate of McLean, Va., are developing standards that they say will be open. And then there are efforts that pull in multiple industry players, such as, a consortium seeking to develop Extensible Business Reporting Language. Putting numbers into a language modeled on XML, for example, could let a Web site visitor view a company's financial statement and instantly merge those numbers into an app to compare that company's performance with that of the visitor's own firm. The same approach could work for a multinational company that wants to use applications to analyze numerical data flowing in from lots of countries... The two open standards being developed by e-Numerate are intended for sharing numerical data in an XML framework via the Web. One standard, RDL, addresses the meaning of numbers, including source information, descriptors and magnitude -- whether the numbers represent inches, dollars, euros, millions, thousands or whatnot. Scott Santucci, vice president of sales and marketing for e-Numerate, compares RDL to HTML descriptors that tell a browser whether to present information in bold, in italics or in a certain location on the page. The other standard, RXL, functions essentially as math equations that are applied to RDL. Santucci described them as 'macros' that process numbers--to adjust or "normalize" them for the rate of inflation, for example, or to convert them to another numerical standard... E-Numerate, which is backed by Carlyle Venture Partners and led by William M. Diefenderfer III, former President George Bush's budget director, is building a gateway to RDL/RXL-enabled numerical data that will be released sometime next year. Meanwhile, the company expects to release a Web development kit this month to let companies develop their Web sites using RDL/RXL-enabled numbers... Mike Willis, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers and chair of the steering committee, said that the concept of putting numbers within an XML framework would take off as the use of XML in business continues to gain momentum. Meanwhile, vendors such as Hyperion, CaseWare and Innovision continue to work in parallel to e-Numerate to create applications for the new numbers-sharing approach."

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