What is XML?
XML is the acronym for eXtensible Markup Language. A widely used industry-standard protocol from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) that facilitates the interchange of data between computer applications. XML is similar to the language used for Web pages, the HyperText Markup Language (HTML), in that both use markup codes (tags). Computer programs can automatically extract data from an XML document. It allows webmasters to create their own customized tags, enabling the definition, transmission, validation, and interpretation of data between applications and between organizations.
Benefits of XML?
Information coded in XML is easy to read and understand, plus it can be processed easily by computers.
There is no fixed set of tags. New tags can be created as they are needed.
In traditional databases, data records require schemas set up by the database administrator. XML documents can be stored without such definitions, because they contain meta data in the form of tags and attributes.
- Contains machine-readable context information
Tags, attributes and element structure provide context information that can be used to interpret the meaning of content, opening up new possibilities for highly efficient search engines, intelligent data mining, agents, etc.
This is a major advantage over HTML or plain text, where context information is difficult or impossible to evaluate.
- Facilitates the comparison and aggregation of data
The tree structure of XML documents allows documents to be compared and aggregated efficiently element by element.