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Hints of XML Future in Forthcoming Browsers

By Nate Zelnick An Analysis of the Biggies With the release of a developer edition of Microsoft's Internet Explorer 5.0, and the imminent release of a beta of Netscape's Navigator 4.5, it's time to check how each company is living up to its pledge to support W3C recommendations when it comes to XML. It's pretty much impossible to make a judgment of Navigator 4.5, since I haven't seen it. News around the release is making it pretty clear, though, that the key innovations in 4.5 have little or nothing to do with XML as a developer technology. Navigator 4.5's additions that relate to XML consist of:
  • Internet Keywords
  • PICS support
Internet Keywords seems to be related to the larger effort to turn NetCenter into a portal and derive advertising revenue from it. It consists of pointers to a metadata repository that allow a user to type a word in the address bar and receive a set of links related to that term. Netscape is working with Alexa on this service. PICS--the Platform for Internet Content Selection--is a kind of Paleolithic ancestor to XML. It was a W3C project initiated to create generalized marking of sites to normalize different systems that were emerging to rate sites for content, especially to make sure that pornography could be marked as such so parents could keep it out of reach of their children. PICS is a noble effort, but requires that sites mark themselves, which makes it a traditional "cart:the horse" technology problem.


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