Interesting Press Release from O'Reilly

Tim Bray tbray at
Wed Mar 11 14:09:45 GMT 1998

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Goal: To Make Perl the Top Scripting Language for XML 

Sebastopol, CA, March 10, 1998--Leading Perl and XML (Extensible Markup
Language) developers met recently at O'Reilly & Associates to plan a
way for Perl, the popular Web programming language, and XML, the
hottest Web mark-up technology, to work together. Attending the
Perl/XML Summit were:  
* Larry Wall, creator of Perl, and senior developer, O'Reilly &
* Tim Bray, co-editor of the XML 1.0 specification and independent
* Dick Hardt, developer of Perl for Win 32, and Chief Technology
Officer, ActiveState Tool Corp.
* Tim O'Reilly, President and CEO, O'Reilly & Associates
* Dale Dougherty, CEO, Songline Studios 
* Gina Blaber, Director, Software Products Group, O'Reilly &

One major goal resulted from the summit: to make Perl the scripting
language of choice for processing XML. As Perl support for XML
increases, it is expected, in turn, to make XML more accessible.

"XML is currently perceived as powerful and important, but not
particularly easy," explains Larry Wall.  "This makes XML and Perl
naturally complementary, since Perl is a language that makes easy
things easy to do, and hard things possible."

One of the summit group's first priorities is to get Perl working with
Unicode (ISO 1046).  Unicode enables code to be easily translated into
other languages; XML requires Unicode. Larry Wall will lead the team
working on this task.

"In the design of XML, we were continuously mindful of the need to
enable the fast, efficient creation of scripts and programs for
processing XML," says Tim Bray.  "Perl is the Web's pre-eminent text
processing tool, and it's really great that the leaders of the Perl
community are going to meet us halfway on this."

"For many of us in the XML effort, the most important goal is to
increase the proportion of the world's documents stored in open,
non-proprietary formats," Bray continues.  "Building slick XML
processing into Perl makes the use of such formats more rewarding and
helps frustrate the efforts of those who would imprison human knowledge
behind the barbed-wire of proprietary file formats."

A number of Perl/XML activities will take occur over the next few
months, according to Gina Blaber.  
* The group plans to release a Perl/XML spec in Q3, 1998.  
* There will be a new Web site for XML, hosted by O'Reilly/Songline
Studios with content from Tim Bray and Seybold Corporation. Larry Wall
and Tim Bray are co-authoring an XML white paper, to be released this
* Larry Wall and Dick Hardt will speak on Perl and XML at XML
Developer's Day, a technical conference for XML developers in Seattle
on March 27, 1998.

A subset of Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML), XML is similar
to HTML in that it uses tags. But XML communicates information about
the structure of a document, rather than the look of it, as HTML does.
That structural information is the key to a wide range of applications
for which XML is already being used. XML is not proprietary, meaning a
document's information and structure will function in a true
cross-platform manner. XML was recently approved by W3C, the consortium
of Web heavyweights, and is expected to have great impact on the rapid
spread of electronic commerce.

Perl is currently the most popular technology for turning Web pages
from a collection of static documents into dynamic information
applications. Easy-to-use, efficient, flexible and strong, the
cross-platform programming language can run dynamic Web sites,
databases, and CGI applications, perform system management tasks, and
scan, extract information from, and print reports about text files.
Widely available on the Internet since 1989, Perl's active developer
community regularly contributes tools and extensions to Comprehensive
Perl Archive Network (CPAN), numerous online groups, and sites such as O'Reilly & Associates' "Programming Perl," written
by Larry Wall, was one of the best-selling programming books of 1997.

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