The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) on Tuesday declared the XML Schema as a candidate for recommendation to become a standard. The standards body is, in effect, asking other working groups, member companies, and developers to implement the XML Schema and run the code and then provide feedback. This is a fine dance, however, as the code is not final and has not been tested in implementations. "The schema is ready to implement, and we are looking for feedback," said Michael McQueen, co-chair of the XML Schema working group. "It is stable, and the only changes that would be introduced now are the result of implementation feedback." McQueen continued that only changes that are absolutely necessary will be made. New features, for instance, will be saved for the next version. The schema is a next-generation means of describing XML documents that follow DTDs (Document Type Definitions), although DTDs will not disappear anytime soon. "XML Schema is an attempt to define documents and have some of the same rules as DTDs but are a little stronger than DTDs," McQueen added. The W3C claims that the schema has a number of advantages over DTDs. Schemas enable XML and XML software packages to describe data types, use XML name spaces, allow developers to take advantage of inheritance, and are actual XML documents, unlike DTDs. McQueen said the next step after candidate recommendation is to publish a proposal recommendation and then finally to recommend it to be ratified as a standard by the W3C. The internal target for publishing the proposal recommendation is December 15, according to McQueen, although he stressed that is not a rigid deadline, and the XML Schema working group is placing more emphasis on ensuring that all testers believe the code is sound.