XML.ORG - Invitation to Participate

Dear XML Professional,

As XML rapidly becomes the key data interchange standard for the Web, customers and developers are recognizing the need for effective administration of the XML schemas related to e-commerce, business-to-business transactions, and tools and application interoperability.

OASIS, the non-profit Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Systems, has recognized this need and is in the process of establishing an industry portal called XML.ORG through which the consortium will collect, manage, and distribute information about XML applications, including vocabularies, schemas, and DTDs. As an established vendor-neutral organization, OASIS is the logical place to host this essential piece of the XML infrastructure. OASIS has the credibility to promote an environment where all industry players will be able to realize the universal data exchange capabilities of XML.

The industry portal at http://xml.org will provide a center for XML interoperability in five key areas.

First, the site will provide a registry and repository for the access and management of XML schemas and other public resources (DTDs, namespaces, stylesheets, public key certificates, etc.). At http://xml.org, industry groups will be able to register their XML data exchange specifications, individuals will be able to look for specifications in their areas of interest, and applications will be able to access XML resources needed when acting on an XML document. Through XML.ORG, OASIS will complement the work of other standards bodies by providing a central clearinghouse for access to XML-related specifications.

Second, the XML.ORG site will implement an architecture employing existing and emerging standards for XML registry/repositories, work that is currently under development as an OASIS technical initi ative. This architecture will allow vendors to create interoperable versions of the registry for use within industry organizations, communities, and corporations. A registry/repository based on the common architecture might be used for a corporate intranet for ERP applications or by an industry organization for sharing information among its members. XML.ORG will maintain a "root" registry that will point to compatible registries and repositories maintained by participating organizations as well as to resources in its own repository.

Third, XML.ORG will serve as an information portal for the work of OASIS-hosted industry groups defining and extending domain-oriented XML specifications. OASIS has recently modified its membership structure to facilitate the participation of industry groups in the definition of XML specifications and other OASIS technical activities.

Fourth, XML.ORG will provide a public source for interoperability guidelines to ensure that XML can fulfill the vision of providing for the open exchange of structured data. This work extends an ongoing OASIS technical initiative to define XML conformance in cooperation with the U. S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Fifth, XML.ORG will provide a public source for XML educational and training materials developed by OASIS.

Initially, http://xml.org will provide basic resources to the XML community such as Robin Cover's popular SGML/XML pages, details of various industry schema efforts, free XML software, and news and education relevant to the XML community.

As it evolves, XML.ORG will become the reference portal for XML developers, pointing them to available schemas and other XML industry specifications. Through the site, XML developers will be able to search for existing specifications used in their industry and to monitor the work of groups designing specifications for their particular market niche. When the registry/repository becomes fully functional later this year, the portal will serve as a mechanism for the automatic resolution of DTD, schema, and stylesheet references, providing a key piece of the infrastructure for XML-based e-commerce and serving as a model for the distribution of such services.

We're convinced that OASIS is the right organization with the right vision at the right time in this stage of e-commerce evolution. What's needed to make XML.ORG a reality is the financial commitment of organizations farsighted enough to help put this mechanism in place and smart enough to see the value of joining this effort at a point where they can have a say in determining its direction.

OASIS has already secured commitment to sponsor XML.ORG from several leading organizations, including IBM, Sun Microsystems, DataChannel, and Commerce One. These companies, which we call "XML.ORG partners," recognize that affiliation with the reference portal will pay off handsomely as new and existing users of XML look to them for information, products, and services.

The purpose of this message is to solicit your interest in promoting the idea of XML.ORG partnership within your organization. For a fee of USD 100,000 per year, XML.ORG partners receive all of the benefits associated with the highest level of OASIS membership plus special marketing benefits associated with the xml.org site itself.

Additional benefits will be determined by the OASIS Board of Directors, which will be strongly influenced by the recommendations of a very special group -- the XML.ORG Steering Committee. This group will be made up of the founding partners, those who sign up before the first Steering Committee meeting. That meeting is scheduled to take place June 30, 1999.

The XML.ORG Steering Committee will be responsible for setting XML.ORG priorities, defining the technical direction of the portal, and determining what kinds of XML specifications are in or out of scope for the XML registry. It will meet regularly with the OASIS Board of Directors to advise them on the operation of the portal and ensure that the site meets user needs. Clearly, members of the Steering Committee will have a special vantage point from which to view the revolution in commerce that has already begun.

We know that the companies mentioned above will be part of the XML.ORG Steering Committee. The question is, will yours? We hope so, but you don't have long to make the decision. A press release announcing the founding sponsors will be prepared June 11 for release June 15, and any organization hoping to participate in the Steering Committee must commit the required level of funding or resources before the June 30 deadline.

Below we've referenced a recent press release and a Q&A that provide more details about XML.ORG and OASIS. To find out more about becoming a founding partner of XML.ORG, please contact Laura Walker, Executive Director of OASIS, at +1 (256) 772-2355 or lawalker@oasis-open.org.


Laura Walker