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Netscape to support XML 1.0 in Communicator 5.0

By Jeff Walsh
InfoWorld Electric

Posted at 11:00 AM PT, Mar 30, 1998

With Netscape and Microsoft on the same page with the Extensible Markup Language, XML developers may get something Dynamic HTML developers never did -- a level playing field.

When Communicator 5.0's source code is released by Netscape Tuesday, it will have support for XML 1.0, according to a presentation Friday afternoon by Netscape engineer Ramanathan Guha at XML: The Conference in Seattle.

Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 already supports XML, although it was released before XML 1.0 was finalized and has not yet been updated.

Netscape's XML implementation is totally standards-based with "no hacks," according to Guha.

Guha said Netscape has included the building blocks for XML in the initial release, but that it would be up to the XML development community to continue the integration.

"You folks will be the ones to decide how XML will be used in Navigator," Guha said.

The criteria for developers adding XML capabilities to Navigator are that it add user value, be cross-platform, and be reasonable, Guha said.

With XML capabilities in Communicator being upheld by the XML developers, Microsoft will be held to that same standard in Internet Explorer, which is has already pledged to uphold. This situation should ensure there are no cross-browser issues such as those that plagued rapid deployment of Dynamic HTML.

Guha said Netscape envisions XML being used for transmitting data on the Web, but said "the most important use for XML today is for documents."

Netscape's current plan uses Cascading Style Sheets to convert XML data into HTML display. He said the Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL) isn't ready yet, but that the architecture Netscape built into the XML component will enable XSL to easily be integrated.

Guha also used the XML Link capabilities within his presentation Friday, which has yet to be standardized, for standard HTML hyperlinking, image inclusion, and HTML transclusion.

Guha said XML support from this point on is in the hands of the development community.

"The developer community for XML has the ownership rights and Netscape is completely behind you," Guha said. "Expect something much better in a couple months, and I'm looking at you guys to do it. We can make this happen really fast."

Netscape Communications Corp., in Mountain View, Calif., can be reached at http://www.mozilla.org.