When database researchers, attracted by the hype about XML, actually look at its specification, the reaction is often puzzled disappointment: what is so special about this simple-minded set of rules for marking up documents?

Bosak's article, first published on the Web in 1996 and then in the now extinct World Wide Web Journal in 1997, gives some of the answers. It discusses, using examples from specific industries such as health care and semiconductors, four kinds of web applications that will drive the acceptance of XML: those that require the Web client to mediate between heterogeneous databases; those that attempt to distribute the processing load from the server to the client; those that need to present different views of the same data to different users; and those in which intelligent agents tailor information discovery to the needs of individual users. Doesn't that sound like a job for database researchers?

This short and non-technical article is well-written and easy to read and it will help you answer the question "what's so great about XML and why should database researchers care about it?"

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