After navigating the murky lands of translation and globalizing content, I attended a panel at Gilbane that was a detailed look at XML and its importance in content management. The overall message I left with at the end was that XML was "tremendous technology" and as one panelist put it, "the most important integration tool in software today".Panelists included Eric Severson, Co-founder and CTO, Flatirons Solutions; Brad Kain, Co-founder and President, Quoin and Jake Sorofman, Senior Vice President of Marketing & Business Development, JustSystems. The panel was moderated by Bill Trippe, Lead Analyst, XML Technologies & Content Strategies, Gilbane Group. Eric Severson gave us a history lesson and some historical context to back up his theory that enterprise content management and web content management are coming together and that XML is the key to that union. First came desktop publishing, out of that came enterprise content management and from that we can now move on to XML based multi-channel publishing in which traditional forms of media can push their content out into many different forms and has become the term we now call "new media". Merging on the same road is the rise of the Internet, the creation of the first few web sites (or the "web site mess" as Severson calls it) and from that, web content management. The next step is personalization and Web 2.0 integration based off of; you guessed it: XML. Severson continued to drive home this point of the mixing of the two systems by posing the following catch 22: How can the space support single source, multi-channel publishing when the primary place you are publishing is the Web? And how can you support WCM when your focus is dynamic content without being integrated with single source publishing?Again, Severson lets us know that XML is the key. The following speaker, Brad Kain supported all of Severson's comments, but framed it in the following manner: "We assume XML is good, but why?". It has a wide variety of uses in content management systems. Kain also played devil's advocate a bit by presenting a situation where XML is not a good idea and how problems are encountered when XML is improperly configured. All panelists were in agreement about the huge potential of XML, not only because of its compatibility with RSS and other Web 2.0 technologies, but also because of the possibilities that using XML tags introduces. Severson showed us examples of how you can have very deep personalization of a website that is far more effective than using HTML. For example, you could create tags that would display text appropriate for different operating systems rather than create separate pages. With customization being the wave of the future and customers and users demanding a personalized web experience, integrating XML into your CMS appears to be a wise choice.