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InfoWorld Electric

March 9, 1998 (Vol. 20, Issue 10)

XML storms spring Internet World

Products arrive based on the WC3-approved specification
By Jeff Walsh and Lynda Radosevich

XML will mark the spot at Internet World this week with XML-related announcements from SoftQuad, DataChannel, Xanthus, and WebMethods.

Extensible Markup Language (XML), a markup language for structured data, has been gaining industry momentum and was approved as a recommendation by the World Wide Web Consortium in February.

SoftQuad will announce the Hotmetal Application Server, which eases the authoring of data-driven, dynamic Web sites by using familiar HTML syntax, as opposed to higher-end, programming-driven products.

A Hotmetal Power Pack will be available as a free Web download to add Hotmetal Application Server functionality to the company's Hotmetal Pro Web authoring tool.

SoftQuad uses XML-based tags as the markup language for database connectivity. The server costs $495, will ship before April, and includes Hotmetal Personal Server, a desktop version of the server that enables local testing of Web applications.

DataChannel will announce Rio 3.0, Web publishing software that slaps XML meta-data tags onto content coming from end-users or databases, enabling them to publish directly to Web channels without going through a Webmaster. On the other end, interested consumers can subscribe to automatically receive the updates.

It's basically "push" publishing made easy via XML so it is possible to bypass the Webmaster bottleneck, said Tim Gelinas, DataChannel's vice president of engineering, and it's a good, early example of a useful, XML-based application.

Xanthus International will unveil iWrite, a Web-centric document authoring tool that has the look and feel of Microsoft Word, but it writes directly to HTML and controls the page layout through Cascading Style Sheets.

The product enables users to avoid the problem of having several version of the same document in Word and HTML formats, which can create versioning problems. Xanthus official said the architecture could easily be switched to write XML and use Extensible Stylesheet Language, once industry support for XML grows. iWrite ships this month and will cost less than $150.

Xanthus will also demonstrate iSite at the show, its document and site management product, which is expected to ship in the third quarter.

WebMethods recently announced that its Web Automation Toolkit will be available for free on the Web. The toolkit uses XML for its data exchange, but it also works with existing HTML tags. The toolkit includes an HTML/XML parser and an XML Remote Procedure Call that will enable applications to share data using HTTP and XML.

The free toolkit includes a Personal Server that supports two users to enable deployment of prototype applications.

SoftQuad Inc., in Toronto, is at http://www.softquad.com. DataChannel Inc., in Bellevue, Wash., is at http://www.datachannel.com. Xanthus International, in Carlsbad, Calif., is at http://www.xanthus.com. WebMethods Inc., in Fairfax, Va., is at http://www.webmethods.com.

Copyright (c) 1998 InfoWorld Media Group Inc.

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