The Extensible Markup Language (XML) is an open standard for creating domain- and industry-specific markup vocabularies. XML has become the predominant mechanism for electronic data interchange between information systems and can be described as a universally applicable, durable “Code of Integration.” As we celebrate its tenth anniversary, it is appropriate to reflect on the role XML has played and the technical ecosystem in which it functions. In this paper, we discuss both the environment from which XML arose and its technical underpinnings, and we relate these topics to companion papers in this issue of the IBM Systems Journal. We discuss the broad consequences of XML and argue that XML will take its place among the technical standards having the greatest impact on the world in which we live. We conclude with some reflections on the significant technical, economic, and societal consequences that XML is likely to have in the future.
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