Feds proselytize for XML

Agencies that don't already have an Extensible Markup Language evangelist need to get one as a guide, a federal Web services specialist said yesterday.

Brand L. Niemann, an Environmental Protection Agency computer scientist and member of the CIO Council's Emerging Technology Subcommittee, spoke with other XML supporters at a Washington meeting jointly sponsored by Corel Corp. and an industry group, the IT Association of America.

Niemann headed the CIO Council's XML Web Services Working Group through its yearlong existence. The effort has morphed into a series of quarterly government conferences on software component technology.

'The quicker we can define XML schemas and make them available to vendors to put into applications, the better we'll all be,' said Owen Ambur, a Fish and Wildlife Service systems analyst and co-chairman of the CIO Council's XML Working Group.

Agencies need three levels of applications for XML documents, Niemann said:

  • The first type would let users create documents without any kind of tagging.

  • The second would require only minimal tagging.

  • The third would have advanced features for application developers and programmers.

  • Judy K. Burnam, the Federal Trade Commission's assistant CIO for software development, described the agency's new system for publishing regulations and decisions to the Federal Register.

    The XML system, now being introduced in stages, combines Corel's WordPerfect 11 suite with Documentum 5 from Documentum Inc. of Pleasanton, Calif. The agency expects to save $70,000 in Federal Register publishing costs during fiscal 2004, Burnam said.

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