The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) announced the release of Canonical XML 1.0 as a W3C Recommendation. This specification defines a method for serializing XML documents such that it eliminates incidental variances in their syntax as permitted by XML 1.0. This functionality is necessary to XML Signatures, which requires documents to be consistently serialized for digital signature processing, so that these incidental variances do not invalidate the signature. Digital signatures provide integrity, signature assurance and non-repudiatability over Web data. Such features are especially important for documents that represent commitments such as contracts, price lists, and manifests. XML Signatures have the potential to provide reliable XML-based signature technology. However, various processors may introduce incidental changes into a document over the course of its processing. Canonical XML 1.0 provides a method of serializing an XML document into its canonical form. If two documents have the same canonical form, then the two documents are logically equivalent within the context of this specification. This relationship combined with XML Signature is critical for electronic commerce because it ensures the integrity of documents and protocol messages that travel between multiple XML processors. This is the first recommendation produced by the joint W3C/IETF XML Signature Working Group. Contributors include representatives from Ariba, Baltimore Technologies, Done360, IAIK TU Graz, IBM, Microsoft, PureEdge, Reuters, and the W3C technical team. The Working Group is still at work on XML Signatures, which already enjoys significant implementation, and will have more with the completion of the work on Canonical XML. www.w3.org
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