Extensible Markup Language (XML) could spark an explosion of innovation and investment which, in turn, will benefit governments and citizens in the years to come. 

That’s the core of the eDocumentation workgroup of the Presidential National Commission on the Information Society and Development which runs from 17-20 June in Pretoria and which will host a delegation of top local and international IT experts.
The workshop will plot the ways that XML could benefit government service delivery.
The workshop will bring together leading experts, academics, government architects, local and international companies, free software developers, citizens and others. Some of those represented include government, the South African Bureau of Standards, the Tshwane University of Technology and Microsoft South Africa.
 Also present will be leading international experts, like IBM’s Rob Weir Patrick Durusau, OpenDocument Editor, OASIS TC and Stephen Pepper, Founder & CTO, Ontopia. The group will discuss the ongoing development of XML standards aimed at service delivery.
XML is rapidly becoming the industry standard for sophisticated document management and data exchange. With XML, data within one file can be easily accessed for reuse in a variety of ways, creating opportunities not possible with other formats. Many in the industry believe that XML offers exceptional potential for automating virtually any task that involves working with data from documents or other sources.
The workshop features tutorials and presentations from government, the South African Bureau of Standards, the Tshwane University of Technology and software maker industry vendors in South Africa.
Microsoft Platform Strategy Manager Paulo Ferreira says the use of open standards like XML is an important part of a drive towards delivering value-added services to government, business and the people of South Africa, using whatever technology they have already, accommodating any existing standards they have in place, and meeting any specific needs they have to access and use information optimally.
“Government and industry has not yet defined or even imagined all the potential ways to aggregate and restructure data in documents, or discovered all possible workflow efficiencies. While standardised XML formats will become common in productivity suites, increasing importance will be placed on XML schemas for specialized business documents and other eGovernment scenarios,” says Ferreira.