What Is XML?

by admin on September 1, 2012

in Hosting Guide

What Is XML?

What is XML? XML or Extensible Markup Language is a language that states rules for document encoding in a format that is both readable by humans and machines. It is designed to be simple and useable, and because of that design, many application-programming interfaces were developed to take advantage of the XML format. On the other hand, some languages were even created to make use of XML, a few of them are WSDL, WAP, WML, RDF, OWL, SMIL, XHTML,  SOAP, Atom, and RSS. As of now, XML has become as important as HTML on the World Wide Web.

xmlOn web development, XML is used to store and transport data. Before new web developers tackle this topic, they must have some basic knowledge on JavaScript and HTML. Knowledge on those subjects is essentially needed since knowing XML will be useless if the developer does not know how he can use it. This is mainly true because, XML is only made to transport data, and not display it. On the other hand, even though XML is a markup language just like HTML, the tags used on XML are not predefined, and it is up to the developer to create his own tags.

In addition, there is no way that XML can replace HTML. In actuality, XML is unusable on its own. Even if you create many lines on an XML document, as long as there is no HTML document that will display and manipulate it, it will remain useless to anybody. To be more precise, XML is a data transportation tool that is dependent on the software and hardware that will use it.

Many developers liked this language since it allows them to save time when they decide to upgrade or change their systems, whether that change is software or hardware. When XML is not yet prevalent, most of those people would often convert large amounts of data, which is a very taxing task. Moreover, when the data they have are incompatible for their new systems, it will only lead to two things. They will either discard or rewrite the data they have, and that is definitely a waste of time. In addition, since XML is just written in plain text, getting operating system upgrades, using different applications, and installing new browsers will never be a problem. Furthermore, because of the popularity of XML, many applications were developed for it.

In case that you are advancing in web development, you absolutely need to learn this. However, if you are not yet familiar with JavaScript or even HTML, always remember that XML is useless on its own. Learning how to create an XML file is very easy, and the only difficult part is for you to know how you will use it. Nevertheless, when the time comes that you already know how to code JavaScript and HTML, XML knowledge can certainly help you a lot. In addition, after you learn how to use XML, it is best for you to learn other data storage and transport languages. It is advisable that you learn S-Expressions, YAML, and JSON.

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