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XBRL Planet's List of XBRL Projects Around the World Provides a Few Lessons

XBRL Planet maintains a list of XBRL projects from around the world.  You can go to the XBRL Planet and view this list of projects laid out on top of a map.  The data which is laid on top of the map comes from an XML file provided by the site:  http://xbrlplanet.org/planet/xbrlprojects2xml.php.  The XML file looks to be generated from information contained in a database.

The map is great, but I personally wanted a list of projects more in the form of a table so I could look at the projects.  So, I created that table.  Now, I actually did this in a number of different ways, experimenting with different approaches.  I ended up with this as one of the approaches:  http://www.xbrlsite.com/xbrlplanet/ReadProjectsXML.aspx.  Nothing spectacular, but it gives me what I want and I learned a few things I was trying to learn about reading XML files using VB.Net.

I think that it is pretty slick that I can simply use someone else's data to maintain my tabular list.  They update their data, my list gets updated.  This is just as interesting as Conor O'Kelly from XBRL Planet leveraging Google Maps to show the location of projects around the world.  There is even a word for this, mashups.  Or, at least this is something like a mashup; the data really is not coming from more than one source, in these two situations the data comes from one place and the formatting comes from somewhere else.

On the XBRL Planet web site is the following disclaimer:

"This map is powered by Google Maps and may reside on servers not controlled by us."

Now, XBRL Planet controls their data, but Google controls the program to render the data on the map.  I control the program which generates my tabular list, but XBRL Planet controls the data.  Interesting.  Normally one party controls everything and is ultimately responsible for the content.

There seems to be a word for this also: data governance.

I have no idea if the XML Planet data is correct, when it is updated or even if it is updated.  The XML Planet data is also linked to several other sources of information.  There are links to the project's web site, to Wikipedia which explains a little about the organzation undertaking the project, and to IASPLUS for information about how IFRS might impact the project.

The third question I had about this little process I went through is were there any advantages of having the information provided by XBRL Planet in XBRL, rather than simply in XML.  So, I took the XML from XBRL Planet, created a style sheet, and converted the XML into XBRL.  You can see this here: http://www.xbrlsite.com/xbrlplanet/ReadXBRLPlanet.aspx.

The conversion process was trivial.  Also, every time the XBRL Planet information is updated, my little XBRL prototype of the XML data is convered to XBRL.  There are some advantages and also some drawbacks from doing this.  The advantages that I saw are that I have all these applications which work with XBRL and I am familiar with XBRL.  So, for me, it is easier to do things with XBRL.  Also, although I did not use them in this example, I can see that being able to use XBRL Formulas to help validate the data would be quite nice.  One drawback is that for XBRL you are required to have a schema file available.  Well, I did not create a schema file (i.e. a taxonomy).  I can see other advantages of the language features (i.e. providing the XBRL Planet information in multiple languages) are probably easier using XBRL.

One final thought.  Wouldn't it be cool and useful if XBRL International would:

  1. Create some sort of RSS feed or something on the XBRL International web site.
  2. Have each of the XBRL International Jurisdictions create some sort of XML or XBRL file with information about XBRL projects in their jurisdiction.
  3. Have each of the jurisdictions maintain this project information on their web site, responsible as part of their commitment to XBRL International to keep these current.
  4. Have the RSS or other feed from item "1" above point to each of those lists of projects.
  5. Have accurate data on XBRL Projects around the world, managed by XBRL International and the jurisdictions.

Seems like this would be a great demonstration of the power of XBRL.

Posted on Sunday, January 25, 2009 at 08:50AM by Registered CommenterCharlie in | CommentsPost a Comment | References5 References

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