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Where I sit, it's going like this.
More RFPs and RFIs cite XML and that's it.
Ok. We can do that. It's worthless but
doable. XMLtoCursor to File.
A few are starting to notice the Federal
Draft standards for XML Developers. That's
generally good. It means that some decisions
are already made for naming, etc. Still, it
won't get them out of using our version of
In a few rare instances, there are real
schemas. Most I've seen are tied to the Legal
XML work. This is good stuff but tied more
to court systems and interstate rap sheets.
Because data flows down to the RMS from multiple
pipes (NCIC, NLETS, dispatch systems, street
walk ins, etc), we still have to maintain
our own internal representation and schema.
I've seen one brilliant bit and that one came
from the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department. This
one has an example Incident Report in XML plus
an XSLT stylesheet for transforming it into an
interactive form. This is great stuff. We
can take it and run and show it to other
customers as an example of how to do it. We
map to it and move on.
The dull news is that as usual, each of these
groups will work independently and we will face
a plethora of similar but slightly incompatible
schemas. Then XSLT becomes the tool of choice.
As usual, there will be semantic incompatibilities.
Negotiation is the word.
However, overall, the problem is not as bad as the
usual report exports we have to generate for every
job we do. So the story for relational records
management systems is a good one because we don't
change our schemas or our internal representation.
We map and do a bit of customization. No matter
how I look at that, XML improves the situation because
as I've said before, the way of XML is almost more
important than the actual technology. It provides for
a public human readable representation and tends toward
some convergence where enough systems have task
and conceptual overlaps. Best practices help and
OASIS, NIST, etc. are pushing these.
From: Paul Prescod [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Mark Seaborne wrote:
> Unfortunately, some organisations appear to be taking
> the position that because XML is now usable in every
> tool under the sun, that not only should it be used
> everywhere, but it can be used everywhere as is.
> So, at least where I work, I get the distinct
> impression (hopefully false) that organisations are
> actually wanting the data interchange format to be
> what they build new back end systems over, so they
> don't have to do bother with any transformation.
I agree that this is a problem. That's why I stress that the XML is a
data representation and not, in general, the implementation's internal