Analysts brawl over 'death' of markup language

Help us out here – does XACML matter?


XACML doesn't exactly roll off the tongue or set hearts racing – El Reg has seen fit to mention it one whole time in our web history.

But the standard, which reached version 3.0 in January 2013 and is billed as an authentication-enabler “that describes both a policy language and an access control decision request/response language”, has nonetheless sparked an online brawl between analyst firms Forrester and Gartner.

Forrester threw the first punch, declaring the standard “dead” and likely to be superseded by the inferior-but-easier-to-use Oauth because the scenarios XACML was designed to serve have either not come to pass or have become irrelevant.

Gartner retorts that XACML is a fine example of an externalized authorization management technology, of which the world needs more. XACML is jolly useful, Gartner argues, declaring it dead is just silly and there's a list of outraged bloggers named Gerry, Anil, Danny, and Remon who agree that's the case.

Is XACML going away any time soon? Probably not. Does anyone really care about it? Forrester says there's no commercial support, Gartner says some vendors can “... translate XACML into SDDL for Windows Dynamic Access Control.” Forrester says that kind of work requires custom development, which nobody loves. Gartner says RESTful XACML bindings will make the standard relevant again.

Help us out here, readers. Do you use XACML? Is it important to you? Did you look at it and run away screaming, or screw up your face in scorn and use another technology? Do you know which analyst is right, or should we spread a plague on both their houses? Hit the “Comment” button to share your XACML wit and wisdom, before its moment in the spotlight fades forever. ®

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