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Table of contents
1.
Introduction
2.
What is XML 
3.
What is HTML 
4.
Differences between XML and HTML
5.
What is Markup Language
6.
Why XML
6.1.
Easy to Understand
6.2.
Super Flexible
6.3.
Works Well with Others
6.4.
Strict but Helpful
6.5.
Safe for Data Transport
7.
Frequently Asked Questions 
7.1.
Can XML be used for making websites like HTML?
7.2.
Do I need to learn XML if I already know HTML?
7.3.
Is XML harder to learn than HTML?
8.
Conclusion
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024
Medium

XML

Author Gaurav Gandhi
0 upvote
Roadmap to SDE career at Amazon
Speaker
Anubhav Sinha
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Introduction

XML stands for eXtensible Markup Language. It's a way of organizing & sharing data that's both human & machine-readable. XML is versatile, used in web development, software engineering, & many other fields. 

XML

By learning XML, you'll understand how to structure data effectively, making it easier to store, transport, & exchange between different systems. We'll explore what XML is, compare it with HTML, talk about markup languages, & discuss why XML is so widely used.

What is XML 

XML, short for eXtensible Markup Language, is a way to store & share data. Think of it as a set of rules for encoding documents that both humans & computers can read. Unlike other languages that display data, XML focuses on what data is. It lets you define your own tags, making it flexible for different needs.

For example, if you're keeping track of books in a library, an XML file might look like this:

<library>
  <book>
    <title>The Great Gatsby</title>
    <author>F. Scott Fitzgerald</author>
    <year>1925</year>
  </book>
  <book>
    <title>To Kill a Mockingbird</title>
    <author>Harper Lee</author>
    <year>1960</year>
  </book>
</library>


In this example, <library>, <book>, <title>, <author>, and <year> are all tags we've defined to structure our data. This way, it's easy to understand & manage information about books.

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What is HTML 

HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language. It's the standard language used to create & design web pages. While XML is all about storing & transporting data, HTML focuses on how to display it on web browsers. HTML uses predefined tags to structure web content, making things like text, images, and links show up in specific places on a webpage.

For instance, a simple HTML code to display a webpage with a heading and a paragraph would look like this:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
    <title>My First Web Page</title>
</head>
<body>
    <h1>Welcome to My Website!</h1>
    <p>This is a paragraph of text on my first webpage.</p>
</body>
</html>


In this example, <html>, <head>, <title>, <body>, <h1>, and <p> are HTML tags. The <h1> tag makes text appear as a big heading, and the <p> tag is used for a paragraph of text. HTML tags are the building blocks of web pages, telling the browser how to display content.

Differences between XML and HTML

Feature XML HTML
Purpose XML is designed for carrying data with focus on what data is. HTML is designed for displaying data with focus on how data looks.
Tags You can create custom tags in XML, providing flexibility to define your data. HTML uses a fixed set of tags defined by the W3C for web page layout and structure.
Structure XML allows for structured data storage, making it easy to exchange and update data between systems. HTML focuses on the structure of web pages, using tags to define elements like headings, paragraphs, and links.
Syntax Rules XML is strict in syntax. Every start tag must have a corresponding end tag, and case sensitivity matters. HTML is less strict. It can display content even if there are minor syntax errors, and it's case-insensitive.
Data Type XML is data-oriented. It's about describing and carrying data. HTML is display-oriented, focusing on how data is presented in browsers.
Extensibility XML is fully extensible; you can create your own tags and data structure. HTML is not extensible. You must use the predefined tags and attributes.
Namespace Support XML supports namespaces, allowing the same document to contain XML elements and attributes from different vocabularies without conflict. HTML has limited support for namespaces, primarily used in XHTML and other XML-based languages integrated into HTML documents.

What is Markup Language

A markup language is a way of writing down text so that a computer can understand what it means and how it should look. It's like using special notes in a text to tell the computer, "This part is a title," "This should be a list," or "This section is important."

For example, when you use a markup language to write something on a computer, you might use special tags to tell the computer how to show your text. Here's a simple example using HTML, which is a type of markup language:

<p>This is a paragraph.</p>


In this example, <p> is a tag that tells the computer, "Start a paragraph here," and </p> says, "End the paragraph here." The computer reads these tags and knows how to display the text on a webpage.

Markup languages are really helpful because they let us organize text in a way that's easy for both people and computers to understand. They're used in many places on the internet, in ebooks, and even in some apps on your phone.

Why XML

XML is really useful for a bunch of reasons. Here are a few key ones:

Easy to Understand

XML looks a lot like the text you read every day, with clear labels (tags) that tell you what each piece of data means. This makes it simple for people to figure out what's going on in an XML document, even if they're not computer experts.

Super Flexible

Since you can create your own tags in XML, it's like having an unlimited set of building blocks. This means you can organize your data in the best way for your project, whether it's for a website, a computer program, or sharing information between different computers.

Works Well with Others

XML is great at sharing data across different systems and the internet. It doesn't matter if the computers or programs talking to each other are super different; XML helps them understand each other.

Strict but Helpful

XML has strict rules, like making sure every opening tag has a matching closing tag. This might sound tough, but it actually helps catch mistakes early, making sure the data is right and can be used properly.

Safe for Data Transport

XML is designed to carry data safely across the internet. It keeps the data structured and clear, so when it gets to where it's going, it's exactly as intended.

Because of these reasons, XML is super popular for tasks like data storage, sharing information between different computer systems, and configuring programs. It's a go-to choice when you need a reliable way to work with data.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can XML be used for making websites like HTML?

No, XML is not for making websites look good. It's for organizing & sharing data. HTML is the one that makes websites with colors, layouts & styles.

Do I need to learn XML if I already know HTML?

Yes, learning XML is good even if you know HTML. XML lets you work with data in more flexible ways, which is really useful in lots of tech jobs.

Is XML harder to learn than HTML?

Not really. If you understand HTML, you'll find XML pretty straightforward. It's all about opening & closing tags and structuring your data clearly.

Conclusion

Learning XML is a smart move for anyone interested in tech. It's not just about making data look a certain way, like HTML does for websites. XML is all about organizing data in a clear, useful way that both people and computers can understand. This makes sharing information between different systems really smooth. Whether you're just starting in tech or looking to expand your skills, understanding XML will definitely come in handy. It's a tool that opens up lots of possibilities for handling data in the digital world.

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