Until recently, electric power cooperatives and the vendors
that supplied them faced a headache every time a new piece
of software emerged. The utilities could choose from a variety
of applications, such as global information system (GIS),
engineering analysis, and customer information system packages,
that were sold by a range of companies. Integrating these
systems, however, required building new interfaces that cost
time and money to develop and deploy.
To address this problem the Cooperative Research Network of
the National Rural Electric Cooperative collaborated with
40 software vendors to create the Multispeak Initiative, an
XML-based specification for developing interfaces within the
industry. As part of that effort, the developers of the initiative
hired Merrill-Hall. Our experts in XML outlined the benefits
as well as the pitfalls of moving from DTD to XML Schema,
explaining how the specification could be more flexible and
offer better reuse to the cooperatives as well as their vendors.
With these details in place, the initiative promises to lower
costs and decrease the complexity of creating and integrating
software applications throughout the industry.
With Merrill-Hall's help, PDA was the
first software vendor to become fully Multispeak compliant.