Many public companies have been, ahem, less than enthusiastic about adopting XBRL for their financial-reporting processes. Software vendors, however, are just about doing handsprings for what they see as their moment finally arrived.

In the last six months, the Securities and Exchange Commission has unveiled a trio of XBRL software programs for investors; the most recent, its Financial Explorer application, was added only last month. The tools are intended to help the public analyze and compare financial data more easily, once companies tag that data in eXtensible Business Reporting Language. SEC Chairman Christopher Cox has long hailed it as “the ...