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XML makes eGovt transparent

Government's focus on open standards makes good business sense and will help to avoid dependency on commercial software vendors, says [South African] Department of Trade and Industry head of IT security Bob Jolliffe. “There is much more to service delivery than XML or ICTs, but it is nevertheless globally acknowledged that eGovernment has a significant role to play in making some of those services more accountable, more transparent, more efficient and more accessible,” he said in a discussion concerning the eDocumentation Workgroup workshop on XML in government service delivery this week.

The free workshop, being held at Tshwane University of Technology, has attracted some of the largest names in XML. The conference ends tomorrow with a panel discussion around open standards and service delivery.

Rob Weir, co-chairman of the Oasis Open Document Format (ODF) Technical Committee, says an XML format is easier to process and works better with more existing tools. “Twenty years ago, a word processor was just a way to produce printed output, which would be handed or mailed to another person. We did not often formally exchange office documents in XML or any other electronic format.”

However, he says, today we have ODF, an XML-based document format as an international standard, implemented by all the major vendors, and in open source. “ODF now needs to be integrated into the business process, including service delivery.”

Patrick Durusau, co-editor of ISO ODF and OASIS ODF, says the true value is that the format is both application and architecturally agnostic, meaning a file can be saved once and read forever.

“I can read an XML file on the lowest-end computer of today, but also up to and including the latest multi-processor that is still in the lab. It will be easier with software to manipulate the XML, but the point is that an XML file is freed from both application and computer architecture limitations,” he says.

Read the complete article by Candance Jones in ITweb. Focus Areas: BPEL | DITA | ebXML | IDtrust | OpenDocument | SAML | UBL | UDDI
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