News.com has a series of commentaries on XML. The dream: “What if every bit of data in every computer included instructions about its content that would allow any other computer to interact with it? Such interoperability could unleash amazing new automation and efficiencies in information systems, and spawn a powerful new service-driven computer industry. For example, software might be written that would allow a carmaker to instantly change its parts orders across all of its suppliers to meet a sudden rise in demand for a specific model.” We are getting there. XML is becoming the lingua franca of the Web.
A comment by Jon Bosak of Sun:
Consider electronic commerce. Bridging the gap between rich and poor economies is a global imperative. Businesses of all sizes must be brought into the EDI framework currently occupied by the Fortune 500. Doing this economically will require royalty-free data standardization and inexpensive software as well as vendor support. A combination of XML-based standards and technologies is now converging to accomplish this goal. The ebXML standards provide a free, coherent, easily implementable infrastructure for trade that maps to existing EDI systems; UBL provides standard business messages; Gnome, Linux and Java provide a free, vendor-neutral computing platform; open-source products such as ebxmlrr and OpenOffice provide free registries and office productivity tools; style sheets and open-source page formatters allow the large-scale output of printed business documents; and commercial products like the Sun ONE Secure Trading Agent are coming online to provide vendor support for trading partner agreements and secure messaging over the free Internet. The convergence of these elements will enable the entry into electronic commerce of most of the world’s businesses.