Rosetta Stone

One benefit of the State Department's FEDS/www system is its modular architecture.

That came in handy when the integrator that developed the system, Development

InfoStructure (deviS), had to swap a new communications layer into the application.

An earlier version of the system used the Common Object Request Broker

Architecture (CORBA) and the Internet Inter-ORB Protocol to exchange data

over the Internet, but some agency firewalls wouldn't let the CORBA script

through. To accommodate those agencies, deviS added support for Extensible

Markup Language (XML) at the communications layer.

"Normally, you would have to start over if you were replacing the middle

communication layer of a system," said Martin Hudson, deviS' vice president.

"But by isolating the client, the middle and the database into three pieces,

we simply swapped the CORBA piece and put in XML. XML makes the data independent

of the systems it's working on. It's the Rosetta stone of the Internet."

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