Future Versions of XML?

Will there be future versions of XML? Maybe, maybe not. Toward the end of the development of XML 1.0, the XML WG tossed out a lot of pretty reasonable requests for improvements and enhancements on the grounds that we had to get this job done, and that they could be dealt with in version 1.1.

On the other hand, immediately after the birth of XML 1.0, the parties involved had a massive attack of conservatism and fear. Since the industry acceptance of XML 1.0 had been astoundingly broad and fast, it seemed unreasonable to do any more fiddling with the spec. First of all, it would create confusion and uncertainty among those who were betting on this technology. Second, it seems foolish to charge ahead "making improvements" and "fixing problems", when in a year or so, we are going to have an immense amount of industry experience under our belts, and really know where the improvements need to be made and the problems need to be fixed.

On the other hand, it is absolutely 100% certain that there will be other specifications that are layered on top of XML 1.0. There will definitely include specifications for namespaces, for hyperlinks, and for stylesheeting. It is also a pretty safe bet that some others will exist that we haven't yet begun to dream of.

For the moment, it's safe to base implementations on XML 1.0, and highly unsound to put off developments waiting for some future version.

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Copyright © 1998, Tim Bray. All rights reserved.