And while LaStrange was creating ChannelPoint's XML-enabled site, he created Merlot, a Java-based extensible XML editor that his company is making freely available as open source. LaStrange believed that the XML community needed an XML editor that would allow developers to create custom editors for individual XML elements.
As for XML's future, the market will undergo big changes within the next two years, after standards organizations ratify key standards for it, Goulde says. "XML is destined to be so universally supported that separate XML products will no longer be necessary," he says. "When XML standards are in place, XML will become at once less visible but more present." That is, a wide range of server products will be able to store and retrieve XML behind the scenes. "XML will be so deeply embedded in the core application development tools that developers will no longer need to think about the low-level details of its syntax," he says.