functionality  through  Web  services.  The  Microsoft  .NET  product  vision  encom- passes various application servers, SQL Server 2000, the Windows operating sys- tem, multiple programming languages, mobile devices, and more. SOAP and XML Schema bring all the pieces together, allowing tremendous application interoper- ability. XML development skills are likely to become an essential requirement for Microsoft developers wanting to access the various .NET products and services. Java and XML The  Java  platform  enables  platform  interoperability  at  a  binary  level.  Java  pro- grams are compiled into an intermediate language and subsequently executed on any operating system through a native Java Virtual Machine. The combination of Java and XML has the potential to improve interoperability by further decoupling the application from the underlying data storage format and opening up the appli- cation’s communication protocol; these are important milestones in realizing true application portability. At the time of this writing, Sun has just recently released several powerful new standards for Web services, XML bindings, and XML messag- ing, which will greatly improve application interoperability. XML technologies are interrelated and are pervasive across a wide spectrum of industry applications. Figure 1-2 graphically summarizes some of the most com- mon uses and their relationships. Figure 1-2: Common use of XML technologies in the enterprise. Platform Vendors: Java (J2EE) Technologies, Microsoft .NET Framework Web Services: SOAP, WSDL, UDDI RDBMS & XML Databases Publishing & Document Management Web Development: XHTML, WML XML Chapter 1: The XMLSPY Game 7