Using XML for Persistent Settings

One of the many things that you can use XML (Extensible Markup Language) for is to create a modern-day initialization file. In fact, some of the most exciting new features in Excel 2003 rely heavily on XML for this purpose.

Though the Windows registry was meant to replace INI (initialization) files, they are still in widespread use. One of the strengths of INI files versus the registry is that, because INI files are simple text, they can be easily inspected and modified using a text editor such as Notepad. INI files can also be copied with ease to other computers.

XML files offer the same conveniences as INI files do while delivering increased flexibility. Whereas data stored in INI files has to conform to the section, key, and value model (much like the registry), XML files can assume a form of your own choosing.

NOTE In Chapters 17 and 21, I'll show the various ways in which you can use XML with Excel.

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