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XML - What's the big deal?

 
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I don't see what the big deal is about XML and why EVERYONE seems to be adopting it.
Anyone care to shed some light for me?
 
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I'll give it a shot.
XML is attractive for several reasons.
1) It is simple text, so it can be created by a person with an editor program, or by a program.
2) It looks much like HTML, so it does not seem too strange. There are some differences, and XML enforces as rules some good practices which, unfortunately, were not universally used by many HTML developers. For example, tags in XML must be properly nested. In HTML you can have

and most browsers will render it fine. In XML, it is not allowed because the inner tag (<i> must be ended before ending the outer tag (<b> .
3) It is easy to verify that a file either is well-formed XML or gibberish. If it is gibberish, an application can reject it.
4) It is very useful for application-to-application data transmission. It is less useful for human-to-application or application-to-human.
5) It is a bit confusing in that it has no specific content. XML is a description of a specific structure. The tags and their content are the result of negotiation between the sender and receiver.
6) With the addition of DTD's (Document Type Definitions) or XML Schemas, you can describe the tags and content you want in a specific transmission. The recipient can easily verify whether or not the XML message conforms to the agreed-upon form or not. If the message is not in the right form, it can be rejected. If it IS in the right form, a lot of error-checking can be avoided by the processing program, because the content is known to follow a specific pattern.
Those are some of the reasons people are using XML.
Does this help?
David Patterson
PatterD Consulting, Inc.
patterd1@comcast.net
 
Gregg Bolinger
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It is beginning to get clearer. With the help of you and another post I have elsewhere.
I guess the real problem I am having is that I have been modifying XML files for J2EE reasons, but haven't really had a need for one in my own applications. So I haven't seen whether or not they can really help me.
 
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