[LINK] XProc (XML Pipeline)

stephen at melbpc.org.au stephen at melbpc.org.au
Tue May 18 11:42:06 AEST 2010

W3C: For Immediate Release


New W3C Standard Defines Way to Organize and Share XML Workflows

"XProc" Replaces Ad-Hoc Approaches

http://www.w3.org/ — 11 May 2010 — Today W3C announced a powerful tool 
for managing XML-rich processes .. 

The specification "XProc: An XML Pipeline Language," provides a standard 
framework for composing XML processes. 

XProc streamlines the automation, sequencing and management of complex 
computations, involving XML, by leveraging existing technologies widely 
adopted in the enterprise setting.

XProc Helps Organize Processes using Standard Descriptions

XML, the Extensible Markup Language, is a mainstay of contemporary 
enterprise computing that is used to store, transform, and exchange an 
enormous range of information, from tax returns to fuel tank levels. 

Many business processes can be modeled as a series of operations, each of 
which involves XML input or output. Companies use these models for many 
purposes, such as ensuring quality controls are met or assembling 
compliance reports.

W3C published the first XML standard in 1998. Since then W3C has 
standardized a number of core operations on XML including validation 
(Schema languages), query (XQuery), transformation (XSLT), and linking 

Business processes combine and build on these core operations, but there 
has been no standard to describe such sequences. Instead, ad-hoc 
solutions have been used, which are not easily shared (e.g., with others 
in a supply chain) and do not leverage widely deployed tools or support.

"XML is tremendously versatile," said Norman Walsh, MarkLogic, and one of 
the co-editors of the specification. "Just off the top of my head, I can 
name standard ways to store, validate, query, transform, include, label, 
and link XML. What we haven't had is any standard way to describe how to 
combine them to accomplish any particular task. That's what XProc 

XProc can be used, for example, to sequence the following set of 
operations: (1) given a news ticker feed (2) whenever a company is 
mentioned, use a Web service to contact a stock exchange then (3) insert 
current share prices into the feed and (4) insert background information 
about the company that has been extracted from a database. In addition, 
this enhanced feed could be presented in several ways to multiple users 
including (5) for print or (6) with an interactive form so that people 
can purchase shares online. In this scenario, XProc controls a number of 
processes that might be implemented using other standards such as XQuery, 
XSLT, XSLT-FO, XForms, and HTML.

XProc is XML; Benefits from Existing XML Infrastructure

Because XProc descriptions are in XML, people can use readily available 
XML tools to generate, transform, and validate them.

"Processing XML as XML is a hugely powerful design pattern, and XProc 
makes this easy and attractive," said Henry Thompson, University of 
Edinburgh and one of the co-editors of the specification. "XProc 
exemplifies what W3C does best: we looked at existing practice — people 
have been using a number of similar-but-different XML-based languages — 
and we produced a consensus standard, creating interoperability and 
critical mass."

XProc is supported by a test suite that covers all of the required and 
optional steps of the language as well as all the static and dynamic 
errors ..



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