XML News from Monday, July 3, 2006

The W3C Web Application Formats Working Group has published the first official working draft of XML Binding Language (XBL) 2.0.

This specification describes the ability to map elements to script, event handlers, CSS, and more complex content models. This can be used to re-order and wrap content so that, for instance, simple HTML or XHTML markup can have complex CSS styles applied without requiring that the markup be polluted with multiple semantically neutral div elements.

It can also be used to implement new DOM interfaces, and, in conjunction with other specifications, enables arbitrary tag sets to be implemented as widgets. For example, XBL could in theory be used to implement XForms.

This version is a non-backwards-compatible "revision of Mozilla's XBL 1.0 language, originally developed at Netscape in 2000, and originally implemented in the Gecko rendering engine" developed by Mozilla, Opera, Google, and Apple. (Hmm, who's missing from that list?) It's supposed less Mozilla foxused,. more browser independent. This is not the same as the W3C's sXBL effort, and it's not immediately clear whether work on that will continue in parallel, or if this will replace it in the W3C standards track. Eityher way this looks very interesting, and I hope the W3c can navigate the rocky shores of browser compatibility to get something usefully implemented.