Last week, in the first part of Defeating XML & GML, I talked about the fear that many have when it comes to XML and GML. Now, I will explain why the future looks bright for XML and then invite you to take part in the XML Challenge.
[A note about GML: I won’t mention GML again in this post (for brevity) as GML is XML with predefined primitives that help represent spatial data in standard ways. So if your passion is GML, then simply read GML everywhere where I say XML. The story remains the same.]
XML is Everywhere
Earlier this week, Geoff Zeiss commented that 1996 was a pivotal year in GIS with the launch of Oracle SDO, MapQuest, AutoCAD Map and FME. 1996 was also the year that the XML specification was released.
Fast forward 15 years. XML data is everywhere, spanning every industry. Think of an industry and I would be surprised if XML data is not considered the state-of-the-art way to move/share data within that industry. If it is not, then the XML adoption process is likely underway. In the geospatial arena there are many examples: OS MasterMap, KML, Germany’s NAS, NatureSDI, Swedish EPA, Metadata (OGC, ISO, and others), the Top10NL, and even the ever popular OpenStreetMap.
XML has definitely reached critical mass resulting in a whole industry of tools that continue to be developed to make it easier for organizations to work with XML datasets. These improving tools in turn give organizations more reason to adopt XML. The feedback loop will increase the wealth of data in XML and its importance will thus continue to grow.
As someone who has spent his career working on technology that’s focused on removing the barriers to data access – this is exciting.
Background to the XML Challenge
As I travel and share my passion for XML and FME, I have been asking people to send me XML documents that they wish to work with. Some have sent me datasets that contains data that they want to incorporate into their workflows. Others have sent me various metadata XML.
Here’s one example of making it easy to work with XML data. Take a look at the 3 and a half minute video to see how I did it. This simple technique works for reading many XML documents.
So far we have been successful with the XML data in all cases and I will keep you posted on those that I am looking at now.
Most importantly is that through this challenge we have been able to help people use their XML data without them having to understand XQuery, XSLT, or XML Schema.
What are your XML challenges? Do you have XML you need to produce? Do you have XML you need to ingest? Can you share it with us? Do you have XML fears? Are you excited about XML?
Take the XML Challenge
Regardless of your industry or XML datasets, I encourage you to take the XML Challenge. Send us your XML data and let us show you how easy it can be to work with XML. The more XML datasets that we are exposed to, the better we can make our FME solution!
And while tackling these problems is fun, it is the anticipation of the dataset that we can’t work with that excites me. The reason is simple. It is these datasets that help us get better.
Take the XML Challenge, and send us your XML data! Comment below, or email your XML problem to XML@safe.com
Don MurrayDon is the co-founder and President of Safe Software. Safe Software was founded originally doing work for the BC Government on a project sharing spatial data with the forestry industry. During that project Don and other co-founder, Dale Lutz, realized the need for a data integration platform like FME. When Don’s not raving about how much he loves XML, you can find Don working with the team at Safe to take the FME product to the next level. You will also find him on the road talking with customers and partners to learn more about what new FME features they’d like to see.