January 18, 2001, 12:09 PM — MICROSOFT FINISHED OFF the third incarnation of its XML parser, now known as MSXML3 on Tuesday.
The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant is calling this version "fully-supported," citing the company's changed development process and the product's availability for download as reasons not to label it as RTM (released to manufacturing) or a final version.
MSXML3, a programming component that implements core XML standards and provides XML services to applications, is currently available for download from Microsoft's Web site.
This latest version supports new standards, including XSLT (Extensible Style Language Transformations), XML Path Language (XPath) and Simple API for XML (SAX2).
During development, Microsoft looked at the most common ways people are expected to use the parser, and added new features to meet those needs, according to David Turner, product manager and technical evangelist for XML technologies at Microsoft.
As a result, Microsoft added an HTTP service that enables server-to-server communication, and caching for XDR (External Data Representations) schemas, XSLT Style sheets, and XPath queries. Turner said that caching improves the parser's performance between 75 percent and 200 percent, depending on the way it is used.
Microsoft first released an XML parser in 1997 with Internet Explorer (IE) 4.0, then updated it with the 1999 release of IE 5.0. The company also added minor updates upon completing Windows 2000.
"During that cycle, we realized that these parsers don't come out fast enough, so that's when we started with the Web release," Turner said.
In January, Microsoft posted to its Web site the first version of the new parser, then made updated versions available in March, May, and July, with developer feedback implemented at each step, all leading up to Tuesday's release.
"Now that we've released 3, we're working on 4," Turner said.
He added that Microsoft is looking to add support for the XML Schema that the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) last week declared as a candidate for recommendation, as well as caching for the schema and enhanced style sheet caching.