The eXtensible Markup Language (XML) is evolving as a standard digital systems language for representing, exchanging, sharing, and publishing information. XML-based formats for data and metadata are evolving to support many different kinds of knowledge organization and agents' communication on the Internet/Web, driving the need for new techniques capable of extracting and organizing knowledge from various heterogeneous data. However, both the vision of XML and Internet/Web are also evolving in ways that are only imagined in the future. Also humankind pushes exploration onto a much broader playing field (namely "space")?new challenges to performance, integration, and very large-scale systems adaptation will have to be overcome.
Later twenty-first century Space Wide Web (SWW) distributed component-based software applications will dwarf today's increasingly complex World Wide Web (WWW) environments, supported by mere earth-bound low-orbit satellite constellations, and will represent a far more significant investment in terms of development costs, deployment, and maintenance. As we now move into the twenty-first century, part of the cost will come in the effort required to develop, deploy, and maintain the individual software components, including vast, shared knowledge bases. Many of these components will be on remote, numerous satellites, attracting information through the next generation of XML-like technologies. As of now, part of this effort will include implementing the required functionality of components, implementing the required interactions for components, and preparing components to operate, using information technologies of the future, in some remote runtime environment. One way to reduce the cost of component development will continue to be the reuse of existing commercial software components that meet the functional requirements.