What Is XML

If you have ever looked at the source code for a Web page, you are familiar with HTML tags. Near the top of a Web page's HTML source, you will see a tag that defines the Web page title to appear in the blue bar at the top of the browser window. The tag might look something like this:

<TITLE>Ask Mr. Excel - Tips and Solutions for ^Excel</TITLE>

A Web page can contain tags to identify titles, paragraphs, tables, rows within tables, and so on. This is the language of HTML.

XML is like HTML on steroids. With XML, you can define absolutely any fields in XML. The following XML file contains information about today's orders received. There is no magic in creating an XML file; I actually typed this into Notepad:

<TodaysOrders> <SalesOrder>

<Customer>BCA Co</Customer>

<Address>123 North</Address>

<ItemSKU>23456</ItemSKU>

What Is XML? 349

Simple XML Rules 350

Universal File Format 350

XML as the New Universal File Format 351

The Alphabet Soup of XML 352

Using XML to Round-Trip a Workbook from Excel to HTML and Back 353

Case Study: Using XML Data from Amazon.com 354

Next Steps 358

<Quantity>500</Quantity> <UnitPrice>21.75</UnitPrice> </SalesOrder> <SalesOrder>

<Customer>DEF Co</Customer> <Address>234 Carapace Lane</Address> <City>South Bend</City> <State>IN</State> <Zip>44685</Zip> <ItemSKU>34567</ItemSKU> <Quantity>20</Quantity> <UnitPrice>50.00</UnitPrice> </SalesOrder> </TodaysOrders>

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