XML, the hidden technology behind IATI and a lot more

    Jeaphianne van Rijn

    Open data has never been more valuable then it is now. Everyone is using open data to communicate about the coronavirus and the IATI open data standard is not staying behind. By publishing timely and comprehensive data, you will be providing partners across the globe with better information to plan, coordinate and evaluate the response to the pandemic. 

    The IATI Secretariat has written guidance to align with other major partners’ reporting on COVID-19. On Tuesday 7 April, 3:30pm UK time IATI’s Technical Team will be delivering a webinar  to discuss the new guidance and take any questions on how to publish data on COVID-19 using the IATI Standard.

    We will be there and if, after the seminar, you decide this is something you want to do we can help you with that! 

    This is just one way we make sure we stay up to date with latest developments in our areas of expertise. Another way was when a few weeks ago (when life was still normal) our CTO Rolf Kleef attended the XML Prague conference: 3 days of workshops and presentations about XML technology and tools that are widely used, but mostly invisible. 

    XML is everywhere: your Word and Excel files contain XML to capture your words and figures. Banks exchange information using XML messages. Electronic invoicing is based on XML. Statistical data is being exchanged with XML. Laws of countries are stored as XML.

    In many fields, people need to check the quality of their information. Legal documents require a specific structure and content, technical documentation for airplanes needs to stick to specific rules, books and magazines need to be properly printed. And the feedback needs to be understandable for the domain expert, not for the programmer.

    There are many similarities with how we approach improving IATI data via our Validator and implementation support: we’re looking for ways to hide the technology and help you find out how to improve data in your project management or financial systems.

    In our work on IATI tools, we try to follow the developments in the XML world, and learn from similar experiences elsewhere. XML may no longer be the shiny and hip technology it once was, but it has become ubiquitous and largely invisible: it has been deeply integrated and mostly hidden in processes to let people do their work.

    That is our vision for IATI as well: embedded in your processes, helping you get better quality data to reach more impact. Let us help you with our IATI services to produce, use and improve your IATI data!

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