What is XML and how to use it?

Extensible Markup Language

XML stands for Extensible Markup Language. XML is used to describe data. It's similar to Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). XML and HTML both contain markup symbols to describe the page or file contents. XML is used in many aspects of web development. It's used to store or transport data, but it does not carry any information about how to be displayed, while HTML is used to format and display the same data. The XML format can be used by any individual or group of individuals or companies that want to share information in a consistent way. XML is actually a simpler and easier-to-use subset of the Standard Generalized Markup Language (the mother of all markup languages), which is the standard to create a document structure. XML was designed to be self-descriptive. XML development commenced in 1996, and a working copy was released within five months. In 1998, XML 1.0 was approved by the W3. Version 1.1 released in 2004. Now, XML is maintained by the W3C.

How can XML use?

XML is used in a wider range of ways. It's initially used in separating data from styling for web pages. XML relies on Document Type Definition (DTD) which allows XML to understand the markup language. So, the document must start with the type of DTD to be used. Then the browser can go ahead and compare each of the given commands with its DTD, which in turn tells it what to do with that command. XML is more flexible than HTML because it lets you create your own building blocks. An XML document basically defines how its subordinate documents are to be read by the machine. You basically skip the HTML because you create your own DTD and the whole process is simplified. The command is outsourced to the DTD. There are two types of XML files. The first one is to rely on the standard DTD that the machine, which a browser can read. The second one is allowing you to write your own DTD and create your own command building blocks. You could become creative and then provide the machine with both your XML and your very own DTD file. So, the data are stored in separate XML files. While XML stores data in plain text format, the storage is independent of your platform and your data can be exported, imported, or simply moved much easier. XML can also be used to store data in files or in databases. Applications can be written to store and retrieve information from the store, and generic applications can be used to display the data. When you separate structure from format using XML, you only need one source for the content. Once you have developed documents, no more need copy and paste the documents, you only need to update the source files when you need to revise the contents. Publish your source files, and all of the document types are published.

Why should you use XLM?

Cost-free

XML is free and free of legal encumbrances. It doesn't belong to anyone, so it can't be hijacked or pirated. And you don't have to pay a fee to use it.

Simplicity

XML provides both programmers and document authors with a friendly environment, at least by computing standards. XML's rigid set of rules helps make documents more readable to both humans and machines.

Consistent and error-free

XML allows the sets of documents which are all the same type created and handled consistently and without any structural errors. Because it provides a standardized way of describing, controlling,  allowing particular types of document structure.

Extensible

XML is extensible in two senses. First is - it allows developers to create their own DTDs, effectively creating 'extensible' tag sets that can be used for multiple applications. Second is - XML itself is being extended with several additional standards that add styles, linking, and referencing ability to the core XML set of capabilities.

Robust and Durable

XML provides a robust and durable format for information storage and transmission. Robust because it's based on a proven standard, and can be tested and verified. Durable because it uses plain-text file formats which will outlast proprietary binary ones.

Uses common syntax

XML provides a common syntax for messaging systems for the exchange of information between applications. If everyone uses the same syntax it makes writing these systems much faster and more reliable.

International standard

XML is a document standard that is maintained by the W3C, an organization that is responsible for Web standards. There are many different document types that are available for writers. XML documents can be created in any XML editor, so you can create an XML file in one XML editor and open and edit it in any other XML editor.

Organization

XML allows you to build your platform by segmenting the design process. Data sits on one page, and formatting rules stay on another. XML allows you to produce the site in stages and stay organized in the process.

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