The extraordinary growth of the World Wide Web has been fueled by the ability it gives authors to easily and cheaply distribute electronic documents to an international audience. As Web documents have become larger and more complex, however, Web content providers have begun to experience the limitations of a medium that does not provide the extensibility, structure, and data checking needed for large-scale commercial publishing. The ability of Java applets to embed powerful data manipulation capabilities in Web clients makes even clearer the limitations of current methods for the transmittal of document data.
To address the requirements of commercial Web publishing and enable the further expansion of Web technology into new domains of distributed document processing, the World Wide Web Consortium has developed an Extensible Markup Language (XML) for applications that require functionality beyond the current Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). This paper describes the XML effort and discusses new kinds of Java-based Web applications made possible by XML.