Why XML is relevant?
XML is an acronym for eXtensible Markup Language, is a metalanguage similar with HTML but it offers developers the ability to create their own tags that are specific to their business or applications.
XML offers a method of structuring data, separating presentation, structure and meaning from the actual content, it is used to represent any data structure, being very useful for databases and other business information.
The main XML technologies that will be explained are:
XML is used with all types of applications, platforms, programming languages and databases being very popular on the web, the most common uses are:
This is the most widespread use of XML, XHTML to be more exact. XHTML being a improved HTML 4.0, more strict and powerful, most HTML 4.0 actually being invalid XHTML.
The fact that XHTML has a strong presence on the web isn’t the main strength of XML, but that XML can use XSLT to transform documents in HTML. THE XML documents can be sent to an XLT processor on the web server and the result appearing in the browser and it is available in whatever format it is needed.
Most of the internal documentation used is writen in XML, the advantage of XML is that is can be used to define traits in documentation, books advertisements and much more.
Another big plus of XML for documentation is that it’s easy to understand, it’s human readable and easy to understand by non technical people, which is a big asset for companies.
I’m sure that by now you’ve understood that XML was created for data, XML for databases doesn’t need to be human readable. The data is organized in such a way to allow machines to read it and make it accessible to the database.
A look inside at the form XML might have when it will be added to a database:
As you can see the code above isn’t as easy to read as the one for documentation, because it doesn’t need to be, it just needs to respect a set of rules in order to be accepted by the database.
XML and databases complement each others functionality for storing data, while databases take care of the data storage XML offers a way to exchange information between applications, whole tables are easily converted into XML documents that can be presented in in web pages with the help of XSLT stylesheets.
Bellow is a list of reasons why XML is here to stay:
♦ it is the most common tool for data transmission between applications and is essential for storing and describing data
♦ most web applications us XML to transport data
♦ XML allows the developer to define his own tags in order to meet his applications requirements
♦ it allows the separation of the appearance from the content
♦ allows the programmatically manipulation of information, the data can be converted to other formats, like JSon, without the loss of information
♦ it was tested on proven standards which allows it to be tested
♦ it is durable, because it uses plain text files that are immune to time degradation