XML Schema can link legacy to Web

XML Schema is being deployed in applications designed to help oil and gas companies reduce errors and redundant data input between their legacy systems and a federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Web application, according to the developer of the standard.

The practical use of the W3C XML Schema standard is the brainchild of Office Technology Systems (OTS) (, Wheat Ridge, Colo., said Gene Thibodeau, national project manager at OTS. Since 1997, OTS has had a contract with BLM to build and maintain applications that interface oil and gas companies with drilling or other operations on federal land.

With more than 400 oil and gas firms using the BLM Web application for drilling and other permits, there are many different legacy data formats in use, Thibodeau explained. The formats don't match -- which is where XML and XML Schema can help, he added.

"What [oil and gas companies are] running into is that if they have to go to the BLM Web site to do a permit, then they also have to enter that information into their legacy system," he said. "What we wanted to do is to build an interface between their legacy systems and the permitting system."

OTS is using tools in the XA-Suite from XAware Inc. (, Colorado Springs, Colo., to develop XML Schema-based information exchange processes that will make it possible for the oil and gas companies to enter data only once, Thibodeau explained.

"They will be able to enter their data into their legacy system and automatically build a permit in the [BLM Web-based] permitting system," he said. "Or they will be able to enter the data in the permitting system and automatically populate their legacy database.

"We've built the XML Schemas and we have one oil company we're working with right now where we have all the schemas built," added Thibodeau. "And we built the schemas from our side using XAware."

The XAware tools allow OTS developers to develop the schemas in a few hours where coding by hand would take as many as five days. "We found that if we can sit down with someone from an oil company who knows their database schema, in about half a day, we can build the schema to go either way using XAware," Thibodeau said.

This has been a big selling point with the oil and gas companies, he said. "When we talk to an oil company and they say 'Can you have it ready in a month?,' we say we can have it tomorrow."

About the Author

Rich Seeley is Web Editor for Campus Technology.


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