Introduction to XML

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This is a basic introduction to XML, but before you continue reading my recommendation is to first have a basic understanding of the following (check the links):


XML in simple therms

XML stands for EXtensible Markup Language
XML is a markup language much like HTML
XML was designed to describe data.
XML tags are not predefined in XML. You must define your own tags.
XML is self describing.
XML uses a DTD (Document Type Definition) to formally describe the data.

What is XML?

The Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a simple text-based format for representing structured information: documents, data, configuration, books, transactions, invoices, and much more.


What is XML Used For?

XML is one of the most widely-used formats for sharing structured information today: between programs, between people, between computers and people, both locally and across networks.


Differences between XML and HTML

XML is very similar to HTML, however, the syntax rules of XML are strict: XML tools will not process files that contain errors, but instead will give you error messages so that they are fixed.

XML is not a replacement for HTML, they were designed with different goals:

– XML was designed to describe data and to focus on what data is.
– HTML was designed to display data and to focus on how data looks.
– HTML is about displaying information, XML is about describing information.
– XML is a complement to HTML

XML and Web development

XML plays a significant role in the present world of web development. It is an influential and effectual tool to process a document’s contents and therefore, creating own tags is possible with XML.

Some of the advantages on using XML for web development

∇ Simplicity is the biggest advantage of using XML. Any computer can process the information and it is simple to read and comprehend
∇ XML follows the standards of W3C and the market leaders in the software industry endorse it
∇ No limitation of tags XML is not limited to the fixed set of tags. Whenever it is needed, new tags can be developed
∇ Self-description
∇ Highly readable context information
∇ Content is important- not how it is presented
∇ Assists in data assessment and aggregation