By BUILDER Magazine Staff. Extensible Markup Language, or XML, is emerging as the protocol for home building data exchange. "By this time next year you will see a lot of interchange of data in XML," predicts Tom Leete of Builders First Source, who is spearheading an effort by the Pro Dealer Exchange ( and Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing ( to develop XML-based electronic documents--invoices, requests for quotes, etc.--for use by anyone in the supply chain. The group, which includes manufacturers, suppliers, and builders, will also standardize how dealers describe their products electronically. Among other things, these will eventually lead to CAD programs with intelligent objects, where clicking on a wall will reveal its components.

Meanwhile, Builder Homesite (BHS) and are creating an XML-based data standard for real estate listings. So if builders send BHS listing data, BHS can re-direct it to MLS sites, Realtors, or any other partner. Says BHS CEO Tim Costello: "If you're not working on the ability to send and receive XML data, you're going to have problems."