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NAME OF PROJECT: XML/DOM Conformance Testing

CONTACT:   Mary Brady, Software Diagnostics and Conformance Testing Division

IMPETUS/HOW PROJECT BEGAN: The World Wide Web has grown to become the world’s digital library, making available information from a vast sea of resources. This phenomenon is due in large part to the success of the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), and it’s universal methods for displaying data. In order to enable the next level of web applications, we need a flexible method of defining, interacting with, and exchanging data for a variety of domain-specific applications. The Extensible Markup Language (XML) provides a standards-based approach to universal methods for defining and exchanging data. Using XML, one can create customized markup languages for exchanging information within their own domain. In addition, the Document Object Model (DOM) defines ECMAScript and Java bindings for interacting with both XML and HTML data, permitting dynamic creation and manipulation of web pages defined using these metalanguages.

NIST staff participated in early definitions of XML. At XML ’98, NIST staff was asked to co-chair the OASIS XML Conformance Subcommittee. At this same conference, NIST staff met with the W3C DOM Working Group chair to discuss participation in the DOM specification. Subsequent communications led to NIST involvement in DOM Conformance testing as well.

OBJECTIVE(S): Although the XML and DOM specifications were just released this past year, there are already millions of XML pages appearing on the Web. Virtually all application domains are looking to use XML and DOM to manipulate and exchange structured information. In addition, XML processors and support for the DOM API are beginning to appear in beta versions of popular web browsers and associated applications. As such, conformance of these products to the W3C Recommendations will permit robust, interoperable solutions.


FY98: Initial involvement in XML; contributed to defining conformance testing, and ensuring that conformance clauses were in the specification.


FY00: Continue development of XML and DOM tests.


FY02: Complete DOM tests.

FY03: Continue test development for XML technologies.

NIST INVOLVEMENT: NIST/ITL is collaborating with industry to solve this problem using the following related tasks:

OUTSIDE INVOLVEMENT: OASIS member companies, W3C, Sun, IBM, Microsoft, Netscape

WHAT WORK HAS ITL DONE: NIST/ITL staff attended XML ’98 and obtained industry support for their efforts. As co-chair of the OASIS XML Conformance Subcommittee, NIST/ITL staff is defining a testing architecture, and building the associated test suite and testing environment. NIST/ITL staff is also working with the W3C to define appropriate first steps in testing the DOM API.

WHAT WORK HAS BEEN DONE BY THE COLLABORATORS: Some initial work on document editing environment and XML grammar tests were contributed by collaborators.

WHAT DEVELOPMENTS HAVE OCCURRED AND HOW HAS THE PROJECT BEEN MODIFIED: NIST was initially involved in the OASIS XML Conformance Testing effort, and has subsequently added resources to lead the effort. In addition, after discussion with the W3C DOM Working Group chair, NIST modified their XML efforts to include DOM conformance testing.

WHAT INDUSTRIES HAVE BENEFITED FROM NIST’S WORK AND HOW: XML is already targeted as the enabling technology for EC and is the primary standard by which industries are defining the structure and semantics of their information. As such, all industry that rely on the Web and XML for the representation of structured information.  The NIST tests for XML and DOM will provide the necessary metrics to determine whether a particular implementation is conformant to the specification, and can therefore be used to provide for the open exchange of structured data.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS OF ITL'S EFFORTS: NIST has been asked to co-chair the OASIS XML Conformance Subcommittee.  Additionally, W3C DOM Working Group chair has endorsed NIST's efforts in developing a DOM test suite.

FUTURE RELATED ACTIVITIES: Testing additional XML and related W3C technologies.


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