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So, who invented XML?

randpwar
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Registered: 01-08-2007

So, who invented XML?

Saw this on the beeb today, thought it might be interesting to forum members. In my ignorance I suppose I thought that XML was a M$ product or a ‘open to all’ software. I don’t think I ever thought that it would be patented.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8197990.stm
10 REPLIES
csogilvie
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Re: So, who invented XML?

I assume the patent is not on XML, otherwise quite a lot of things would be in breach of the patent, but more on either the specific XML or the specific USE of XML (eg. the document structure) etc.
itsme
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Re: So, who invented XML?

What's the difference between an .xml and an .ini file?
Community Veteran
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Re: So, who invented XML?

But xml is also the basis for open software such as OpenOffice isn't it - and the whole idea was that MS started using it to alow them to sell to government and similar customers who demanded that file formates were open standard ?.
And XHTML is HTML which allows XML too ?
Or am I getting comfused.
Denzil
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Re: So, who invented XML?

XML is not software, but a document format similar to HTML. It was developed by the Word Wide Web Consortium. See here,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xml
The other company cannot claim a  patent on XML itself, because it is not theirs. I don't really see how they can even claim a patent for the application of XML in that way, because separating markup and content is part of the definition. Lots of other applications use XML in a similar way to MS Office. Openoffice and others use a similar system (the Open Document Format). ODF has been an ISO standard for some years, and recently MS's DOCX became so as well.
INI files are completely different. They are text files containing configuration information for applications. Users are generally unaware of them, as they are just used by the application itself.
itsme
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Re: So, who invented XML?

So xml files are standardised ini files?
csogilvie
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Re: So, who invented XML?

Not really, an XML file could be anything...
For example, I used to store the data for a website I maintained in XML files for it's database backend - but I wouldn't use an INI file for that.
itsme
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Registered: 07-04-2007

Re: So, who invented XML?

I use a xml file to configure my Nokia phone for VoIP but an ini file could do the same thing.
csogilvie
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Registered: 04-04-2007

Re: So, who invented XML?

Possibly, but XML files are probably potentially easier to programatically read in.
itsme
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Re: So, who invented XML?

Sorry I should have explained that I believe the xml files are just a natural progression from ini type files and if patentable should show that it's to recoup money to develop an idea and not to stop competition.
I have come from an industry (medical, blood glucose monitoring) were every thought seem to be patented, one being the storing of variables in an external memory device that control the hardware or the method of data collection and manipulation. These variables historically for decades were stored in an internal memory but when eeproms came down in price so that they could be a disposable item with a pot of reagent strips in addition to holding the response curve for the strips it could contain some of the other variables. But no this could not be done because of an existing patent. This than stop the improvement of the system and therefore the results the diabetic would get if the method of data collection is different to that when the meter was manufacturered. So who benefit from this patent?
alanb
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Posts: 459
Registered: 24-05-2007

Re: So, who invented XML?

XML is used for so many things these days, it all gets horribly confusing.
XML itself is not patented, though particular applications of it may be, as Cso and Denzil indicated above. It is in fact derived from SGML, (Standard Generalised Markup Language,) which is a ISO standard not encumbered by patents. Markup languages have a long history going all the way back to the 1960s.
XML is not a replacement for INI files either. But files containing XML markup are a very flexible and convenient alternative to INI files. The best way to summarise XML is to describe is as a data description language. In other words, XML describes the structure of data (as apposed to HTML, which is intended to describe how to present data on an output device). Also, XML is not just a file format, it is intended to be used to store and transport data, so data being transmitted across a network can be sent as an XML stream in order to enhance data portability. Another transport application occurs in some Linux desktop managers where the clipboards can send and receive data using XML formatted packets.
XHTML 1.0 (aka HTML 4.01) just serves to create further confusion. It was probably a mistake to call it XHTML. I suspect the authors of HTML 4.01 wanted to give their work a bit of XML glitter. The original authors of HTML made some bad design decisions and didn't standardise some things that should have been standardised. The result of this is that there are ambiguities in how web browsers should interpret HTML, which can cause different browsers to interpret and present web pages in different ways. XHTML borrows a few ideas from XML standards to correct some of the deficiencies in HTML An example is that XHTML requires that opening and closing markup tags are properly nested, which is not a requirement of earlier HTML standards. Earlier versions, prior to XHTML, allowed tag pairs to out of order, which can make it difficult to parse HTML reliably leading to the possibility that web pages will be rendered incorrectly.