Web Leaders agree to add Native XML
New Ecma International standard,
ECMAScript for XML (E4X), to unlock the power of XML
for web developers
Geneva, 28 March 2003:
Ecma International (Ecma) is completing extensions
to the widely used ECMAScript standard, currently being
updated to its 4th Edition. The enhancements known as
E4X (ECMAScript for XML) standardize the syntax and
semantics of a general-purpose, cross-platform, vendor-neutral
set of programming language extensions adding native
XML support in ECMAScript.
E4X will make it easier for Web developers to use the
power of XML structured data, allowing them to leverage
their existing skills and knowledge, and reuse familiar
concepts, operators and syntax. E4X will also reduce
code complexity, time to market and revision cycles,
decrease current XML footprint requirements and enable
looser coupling between code and external data.
Given the rising popularity of XML and the near universal
usage of ECMAScript on the World Wide Web, the Web development
community will welcome a simple, familiar, general purpose
programming model for XML allowing them to harness the
power and flexibility of XML immediately with little
or no additional training.
In July 2002, recognizing the need for Native XML support
in ECMAScript, a group of companies led by Ecma member,
BEA Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq: BEAS), lobbied the Ecma Technical
Committee (TC39) responsible for ECMAScript. Consensus
was reached in the Programming Languages Technical Committee
of Ecma (TC39) and Ecma formed a specialist group to
draft the specification.
Jan van den Beld,
Secretary General of Ecma International said: "The network
effects of an open standard are more valuable than a
proprietary approach. We congratulate BEA systems and
its cosponsors for starting this activity and commend
the collaborative work of our members who are making
this high-quality, high-value standard possible in so
short a time."
"Its fantastic to see leading application server,
browser and mobile device vendors collaborating to make
E4X a reality," said Adam Bosworth, chief architect
and senior vice president of Advanced Development at
BEA Systems. "We want developers to be able to
leverage E4X everywhere they find XML."
As part of the standardization process, BEA plans a
publicly available implementation of E4X, to provide
an opportunity to solicit feedback from the development
community and assist the standardization process.
Brendan Eich of Mozilla.org,
simple, and powerful extension to ECMAScript. As more
script authors encounter XML data, they will want exactly
what E4X provides. This is a useful and innovative extension
for developers across the Web."
David Yach, Vice President,
Software at Research In Motion (RIM), makers of the
popular BlackberryT wireless device, said "XML
technologies will play an important ongoing role in
the evolution of mobile devices and the wireless enterprise
and we are pleased to help sponsor the development of
the E4X language that will provide powerful capabilities
for XML based applications."
John Montgomery, director
for the Developer and Platform Evangelism Division at
Microsoft Corp., said "We're encouraged to see
this evolution of the Ecmascript standard occurring
in Ecma. XML and Web services are clearly growing in
importance in our customers' software solutions, and
enabling this popular language to better integrate with
XML is critical for its continued success."
About Ecma International
Since its inception in 1961, Ecma International (Ecma)
has developed standards for information and communication
technology (ICT). Ecma is a not-for-profit industry
association of technology developers, vendors and users.
Industry and other experts work together in Ecma to
complete standards. Ecma then submits the approved work
for approval as ISO, ISO/IEC and ETSI standards. Ecma
offers industry a "fast track" into these
organizations' standardization procedures, through which
high quality standards are rapidly made available for
Main areas of standardization include: Scripting and
programming languages; Optical and Magnetic storage;
High speed interconnects; Safety, Environmental, Acoustical
and Electromagnetic product attributes; Enterprise and
Proximity Communication and Networking; and File and
Volume structures. Publications can be downloaded free
of charge from http://www.ecma-international.org.
The ECMAScript (ECMA-262 or ISO/IEC 16262) Language
Specification 3rd Edition, December 1999, is the foundation
for Web pages that do something more than displaying
text and images. It is estimated that nearly 70% of
all web pages contain instances of ECMAScript. In February
2003, popular search engine Google found 10 million
and 40,000 references to "ECMAScript".
The international standardization of the language was
originally driven by Ecma members Netscape and Microsoft,
whose browser- or server-specific implementations include
offer supersets of this full-featured programming language.
Ecma is in the process of harmonizing the various diverging
extensions of ECMAScript. The full second version of
the language is scheduled for publication as ECMA-262
Edition 4 in Q1 2004. This will update the standard
with respect to the language and the various differing
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