Big Blue Launches Big Push into XML

November 17, 1998

Mark Walter

The Seybold Report on Internet Publishing
Special to

A week after Oracle announced a big XML push IBM threw its weight behind the standard, launching yesterday its own XML Web site, making available 10 free XML Java applications, and demonstrating a Java-based PGML viewer it is building with Adobe.

The launch of IBM's XML site underscores the company's long history in generic markup (it invented GML, the precursor to SGML that preceded XML), highlights its current efforts to influence the W3C standards-making process, and will serve as a vehicle for the company to reach customers and developers interested in XML.

The 10 software applications -- nine of which are new -- are being made available on IBM's AlphaWorks site, which is devoted to bringing IBM research out to the developer community. They showcase IBM's interest in marrying XML and Java technologies.

Among the new tools one we especially like is The XML Editor Maker, which automatically generates visual editors from DTDs. In the demonstration we saw, it looked ideal for creating forms-based data-entry tools, such as one might use for entering metadata.

Another cool tool is DataCraft, which provides XML views of databases and makes it easier to publish XML forms on the Web. The current tool works with IBM's DB/2 and Microsoft Access.

Publishers may be particularly interested in PatML, a pattern match and replacement tool, and TeXML, which turns XML into the TeX formatting language.

Also new is the Bean Markup Language (BML), an XML-based language for accessing and configuring Java beans. BML includes both an interpreter that creates the desired bean hierarchy and a compiler that creates Java code.

The other programs include XML BeanMaker, which creates Java bean classes from DTDs; XML TreeDiff, which differentiates document trees inside the Document Object Model; and the XML Productivity Kit for Java, which includes IBM's previously released XML Parser for Java.