Since XML is a very vast subject, while you study it and that’s the reason why this is one more post is needed to be written of its review. In this post you can find description of remaining features of XML, after we looked at ‘What is XML and how it is structured in previous post (An Overview of XML – Part 1)
While implementing XML you will always feel that it helps a lot of data sharing options. From a web developer’s point of view this is very positive aspect of XML because for the smooth function of a website you always need such type of data sharing among various web applications, which hold data in different structures. Due to XML this sharing can be made easy for the developers. Because every applicaton’s data structure can be mapped upon XML structure all the applications can share data in a common XML format.
An XML file can be read by human but still it’s not an interesting and easy task to do so. Being free of cost is a positive aspect of XML, it can be written with a simple text editor and tools like ‘XML Notepad’ are available fro free of cost. XML is supported by default by the web development application like Dreamweaver and Visual Studio .NET. If one want to parse it then Microsoft also provide a tool named with ‘MSXML’. XML is also usable with almost all of the leading CMS (Content Management Systems), XML documents are mostly used for storing the content which can be further transformed to provide the output on Web. The advantage of XML while transforming such data is that it make makes all changes to content to be contained at a central location and it is cascaded out in all formats required.
XML stands for ‘eXtensible Markup Language’, a meta-language which is used to create other languages. In XML data remains marked up with tags, somewhat similar to HTML tags. Interestingly, the recently launched HTML version is called XHTML, which is based on XML and follows the syntax rules set in XML.
XML is mainly intended to be used for the purpose of storing data and information. This data further can be read mostly by machines and on a few occasions by humans also. This data is mostly stored in databases and it can be also stored in normal spreadsheets but one more specialty XML has that it can also store data in loosely structured manner i.e. data stored in letters or manuals.
Despite being very useful XML is found lagging behind the other competitive technologies like HTML. When you see a HTML page through your browser it is a nice thing and this is something XML misses out, one really needs to work very hard to make a XML document exciting. The main feature of XML is to store the data in databases and spreadsheets, so that applications can use it for various processes. There are very few areas, where XML has a supremacy over its competitors like it has its own separate structure of formatting where as HTML documents, word processor documents, spreadsheets have some mess-up because of mix structures with formatting which makes things difficult to handle content and design of a webpage. In XML certain predefined tags used for emphasizing can be placed in <em> tags for some other purpose, because a XML document never define that how the content of the particular tag should be displayed and the formatting part is left to an external stylesheet.