Simple text messages, readable and writable by people and computers, live at the core of every successful Internet application. XML seeks to grow the expressive power of these texts while preserving their accessibility. Java, although born to the Internet, has been oddly slow to embrace these paradigms.

For example, regular expressions are the most basic tool for working with patterned text. Yet only now, in the JDK (Java Development Kit) 1.4 release, do regular expressions become a standard feature of the Java platform. Likewise, basic XML facilities such as parsing with SAX (Simple API for XML) and DOM (Document Object Model) interfaces, and transformation with XSLT (Extensible Stylesheet Transformation) – although long available from other sources – make their first official debut in J2SE (Java 2 Standard Edition) 1.4.

Although Sun Microsystems Inc.’s Java/XML engine may have started slowly, it’s really cranking now. A set of unbundled XML and Web-services APIs, in various stages of development, seeks to complement the XML core that’s built into the platform. These “JAX Pack” APIs define a Java framework within which developers can perform several tasks, including the following.