NU Online News Service, April 5, 1:25 p.m. – The U.S. General Accounting Office says the federal government is having some of the same problems adopting XML standards that many life insurance companies and other businesses have been having.
XML advocates say XML standards can slash through the communications barriers now separating one computer system from another, creating the equivalent of a universal language for computer systems.
But first, the GAO says, businesses, government agencies and other users have to agree on the elements that the universal language should include.
Government developers, and others, face “the risk that redundant data definitions, vocabularies, and structures will proliferate,” David McClure, the GAO’s director of information technology management issues, writes in a report available on the Web at //www.gao.gov/new.items/d02327.pdf
Developers also face “the potential for proprietary extensions to be built that would defeat XML’s goal of broad interoperability,” McClure warns.
McClure has little advice for federal agencies, other than a recommendation that federal agencies develop a strategy for governmentwide adoption of XML. The strategy could be modeled after the government strategy for implementing the older Electronic Data Interchange data exchange standards, McClure writes.