XML Adoption Gaining Speed

The use of XML [definition], a pared-down version of Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) [definition] designed especially for Web documents, is on the upswing, nearly doubling in the last six months, according to research by Evans Data Corp.

Evans’ International Developer Survey found an increase of 48.6 percent in XML use among the international developers surveyed since November 2000. XML allows designers to create their own customized tags, enabling the definition, transmission, validation and interpretation of data between applications and between organizations.

Six months ago, Evans found that 25.7 percent of developers used XML in some percentage of their developing time. In 2001, the number increased to 38.2 percent. When asked about their plans for XML, 53.1 percent said they expect to be using XML next year. Evans North American Developer Survey found XML use in North America is lower, but still expanding. Today, 35.8 percent use XML in North America, and 42.3 percent will use it next year. That’s a 19 percent predicted increase in North America compared to a 39 percent predicted increase by the international survey.

A survey of more than 225 respondents conducted by Intellor Group, Inc. at the Wilshire Meta-Data Conference and DAMA Symposium in March 2001, also examined where companies are with their levels of understanding, acceptance, adoption, implementation, application and selection of XML and XML-related technologies, as well as the impact XML has had or will have on their organizations.

“The survey research we performed serves as a measure of how effective the marketing hype that surrounds XML has been and how discerning IT professionals have been at separating the wheat from the chaff in truly understanding XML,” said Grant Laing, senior analyst at Intellor Group, Inc. “Our research shows that the benefits are well understood and tangible, and the challenges are recognized and likely to recede over time.”

Nearly two-thirds of the respondents (66 percent) cited the ability of XML to be a common B2B format as the leading benefit of its adoption. Forty-two percent said a common B2B data format is a “major benefit,” and 24 percent said it is “of critical importance.”

More than half (58 percent) said common data access was a leading benefit of XML adoption. Of that 58 percent, 39 percent of the respondents said common data access is a “major benefit,” and 19 percent said it is “of critical importance.” Fifty-three percent rated the EAI enabler of XML feature a leading benefit of XML adoption. One-third of those said it is a “major benefit,” and 20 percent said it is “of critical importance.”

Immature standards were cited by 64 percent of the respondents as a leading challenge to XML adoption. Of that 64 percent, 39 percent of the respondents said immature standards are “a major challenge,” and 25 percent said it is “of critical concern.” Sixty-one percent rated the lack of IT staff as a leading challenge of XML adoption. More than half (53 percent) said competing standards were a leading challenge of XML adoption.

“There’s a widespread perception in the IT community that it takes 10 minutes to understand XML and 10 months to understand the new technologies hung around it,” said Michael Champion, a senior research and development advisor for new technologies at Software AG. “We firmly believe that the elegant simplicity at the core of the XML technology family will continue to provide a solid foundation for interoperable, device-independent, easy-to-build software systems, and XML will be a near-universal foundation for enterprise software–but not some ‘sexy’ technology that will solve many problems in and of itself.”

internet.com’s siliconvalley.internet.com contributed to this report.

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