XML is now an official recommendation and is currently at Version 1.0. You can read the latest specification on the World Wide Web Consortium web site, located at http://www.w3.org/TR/1998/REC-xml-19980210.
Things are going well for this young technology. Interest manifests itself in the number of satellite technologies springing up like mushrooms after a rainstorm, the volume of attention from the media (see Appendix A, for your reading pleasure), and the rapidly increasing number of XML applications and tools available.
The pace of development is breathtaking, and you have to work hard to keep on top of the many stars in the XML galaxy. To help you understand what's going on, the next section describes the standards process and the worlds it has created.
Standards are the lubrication on the wheels of commerce and communication. They describe everything from document formats to network protocols. The best kind of standard is one that is open, meaning that it's not controlled or owned by any one company. The other kind, a proprietary standard, is subject to change without notice, requires no input from the community, and frequently benefits the patent owner through license fees and arbitrary restrictions.
Fortunately, XML is an open standard. It's managed by the W3C as a formal recommendation, a document that describes what it is and how it ought to be used. However, the recommendation isn't strictly binding. There is no certification ...