It has been a busy week for both W3C and anyone who is serious about XML. The W3C XML Core Working Group has published the fourth edition of XML 1.0, and second editions of XML 1.1 and Namespaces in XML 1.0 and 1.1.

Forming, as they do, the bedrock for W3C-defined technologies used in the querying, transforming, displaying, encrypting, and optimizing of XML their importance cannot be overestimated. As well as correcting ‘all known errata’ according to a W3C release, the revised specifications also clarify where before there was ‘potential for misunderstanding’ although I have to admit I have yet to read them in full and compare to the previous versions so cannot actually comment on the particulars. Hey, sometimes life is just too short and pool too inviting to spend time going over XML specs with a fine toothcomb!

Not so for the folk at W3C of course, they have vowed that by the end of this year they will have published their recommendations for XML Query 1.0 and XSLT 2.0, as well as revising the XML Schema which is heavily used in SOAP-based Web services, and planning additions to XML Query that go beyond the 1.0 version. If that wasn’t enough, the XML Processing Model Working Group are also expected to publish the first draft of an XML language for specifying sequences of operations on XML documents, such as transformation, validation, inclusion and decryption, based on existing XML pipeline products and free and open source designs.

And the final bit of news coming out of W3C that will ignite a spark of interest from web developers is regarding compression techniques that can be applied to XML documents. Apparently a number of XML-specific technologies for improving the efficiency of XML storage, transmission and processing have been developed and W3C has chartered a Working Group on Efficient XML Interchange to expand the outreach of XML into further domains that require even greater performance and additional capabilities such as streaming.