When XML first appeared, people started hyping it as a new technology. I do understand why this happened. Technology is like magic and people are willing to pay for technology. Well, XML is not really a technology. Its just a language, not unlike English and Korean. Not very sexy at all. The special thing about XML is this: it is a common language, more like English than Korean.
Well, its happening all over again with XACML, SAML, and Liberty Alliance. People are hyping about them as new technologies, yet they are just common languges for specific domains, like the way doctors and lawyers have their own lingo even though they are all speaking English. XACML is a language for describing access control policies. SAML is a language for describing security assertions, attributes, and statements related to a person or a process. Liberty is an extension of SAML for federated SSO. Nothing new, but exciting in that many folks are speaking the same language. Wonderful things happen when everyone speaks the same language.
Still, there is a heavy price to be paid before these new 'technologies' can be realized. Everyone has to learn it, meaning bidirectional bridges have to be built before all those proprietary systems can start talking in XACML, SAML, and Liberty. Ouch. Thankfully, trouble means money for solutions providers just as pain means money for doctors. XML is great because it draws people to look up at the sky and cause a great big pain in the neck. Don't take two aspirins. Make an appointment.