A Browse Through The Pluses and Minuses of XML
XML signifies Extensible Mark-up Language and its a mark-up language intended for moving as well as showing data or info all over the internet, in a reliable and as intended fashion no matter what the systems or internet browsers being used. Accordingly XML is perfectly system independent and is accessible freely.
XML was actually developed to replace SGML and HTML, each of which are usually also mark-up languages although had their very own limitations and constraints. Including, SGML was quite sophisticated and overpriced, this made it very difficult to use for the web, notably because it wasn't being maintained by any of the commercial web browsers.
In relation to HTML, in spite of being for free along with generally supported, it had a number of major problems making it inappropriate for use carrying data over the internet.
Thus XML was developed out of SGML through a team of IT specialists from IBM and Sun, who took the best parts of SGML and removed the unused, complicated and awkward parts. The final result became a simple, extensible and open specification which had been only 26 pages long, in comparison with well over 500 pages that the SGML specification came with.
So thatís the basic history v XML, letís right now take a glance at what precisely XML is and what it looks like.
In relation to its code syntax, XML is similar to HTML, i.e. you have an opening tag that looks like [xml], and a closing tag that looks like [/xml]
Other than the opening and closing tags, most of an xml file is actually pairs of opening and closing tags with data (collectively, the tags and data are termed XML Elements).
Having presented a brief history on XML and taking a quick look at what it really looks like, lets at this point dive right into the pros and cons, beginning of course with the advantages.
The first and most apparent benefit is the fact that unlike HTML, XML tags don't have semantic meaning; which means youíre not tied in to using limited tags, for instance, in HTML you have to use the body tag to use your body elements or the head tag to place the head elements.
With XML you truly design your own tags to suit your needs and you can place whatever you like in between your tags, there are no constraints within the rules e.g. with HTML only body elements can go within the body tag.
The other advantage is that in addition to tags, you may also create and also write your own rules, and these rules, not like HTML, need not be constrained to formatting rules, XML means that you can define all forms of tags with all kinds of rules, which include tags representing business rules or tags representing data description or data relationships.
In spite of the many positive aspects, there is also one key downside that's prevented XML being more broadly adopted than it is at present, which is the lack of sufficient processing programs.
With HTML for instance, you could utilize any kind of internet browser to read any HTML document that's not the case with XML, as there are at the moment no XML internet browsers available. Thus XML documents should be converted to HTML before you distribute them or even to make use of a middleware program to transform it on the fly.
With that said, parsing tools and algorithms are constantly progressing and also new changes are making it easier than you ever have to work with XML, and thus a lot of people are discovering the benefits to transferring their data to XML. Lastly, commercial XML tools such as Liquid XML Editor may tremendously boost your capability work with and edit XML based files and documents.
A additional precise account of XML can be obtained from this XML guide or you can easily check out the W3C website for much more.
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