In the highly competitive world of computer technology it is a rare occurrence when everyone agrees on a standard. The XML standard (defined by the World Wide Web Consortium—see http://www.w3c.org) has been widely adopted and continues to grow in terms of its use and available support tools (editors, code libraries, samples, and so on). The popularity of XML continues to grow even though it is relatively simplistic when compared to other data-communication technologies used to store and transfer information. Will XML eventually replace some of these more advanced and efficient technologies? Only time will tell, but the idea of using a free technology that doesn't reqi e installation of special software drivers,
When you create a new XML document, you define the tags; therefore, you are essentially defining a new language. This is an area where XML differs significantly from HTML. Yes, both markup languages use tags, but with HTML, all tags are predefined by a standard.
Even though you define the tags, there are a few rules you must follow when creating an XML document. The standards that define XML syntax (discussed later) must be followed, and if you intend to allow other applications to use your language, you must create another document called a schema that defines the tags in your document. All of this results in XML documents that store your data as text files for use in Web browsers and other applications.
XML is becoming very popular for several reasons. Foremost, XML is free, so you do not have to pay any proprietary fees in order to use it. With regard to Web development, XML files are text files and the Web is very good at exchanging data stored in text files. XML finally gives Web developers a consistent (and best of all free) medium in which to share data, but the Web is not the only medium for which XML is well-suited. Application development often requires the use of text files and/or database files for storing and sharing critical data. XML allows for the use of a consistent medium for data I/O without having to install and configure additional drivers or pay for proprietary software. Finally, because XML documents are text documents, they can easily be shared between applications across any platform.
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