XML - CHAPTER 1 XML I n todays world electronic data...

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XML I n today’s world, electronic data transfer has become an important aspect of our everyday life. When you withdraw money from an ATM, make credit card purchases, pay your utility bills on the Web, look up a news channel for current world happenings, look up an online map for driving directions, and so on, the data flows in electronic format between various applica- tions. These applications have been developed by different vendors at different times without any prior agreement on the format of data transfers. Many companies have set up their own standards for communication with business partners. These are generally binary based, not human-readable, and require extra effort to implement. These communication protocols never became world standards because of their complexities. What people really wanted was a standard that everybody across the globe would accept as a common protocol for data transport. That’s where Extensible Markup Language (XML) was born. XML solves most of the problems faced in the existing protocols of data transport. XML is rapidly becoming the de facto industry standard for data transport. Nowadays XML is used everywhere: for setting your application configurations, transporting data across machines, storing data in databases, invoking business methods on remote servers, and so on. These days you will hardly find any recently developed application that does not use XML. Thus, with the widespread use of XML in software applications, you need to learn how to create, process, and successfully use XML documents for data interchange. This chapter gives you a brief overview of XML, its syntax, and namespaces. You’ll also be introduced to the Doc- ument Type Definition (DTD) and XML Schema standards, which play a key role in creating valid XML documents. You’ll begin by first understanding the need for XML. Why Use XML? The Web is heavily based on the use of HyperText Markup Language (HTML). HTML defines several tags—for example, <h1> , <h2> , and <body> —that describe how to render the docu- ment’s contents on the browser. However, these tag elements do not usually convey any meaning about the data embedded in the document but instead just describe how the data should be presented. XML solves this problem by allowing the document creator to devise meaningful tag names that express the purpose of the embedded data rather than how it should be presented. 1 CHAPTER 1 ■■■
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XML offers several benefits to the user: XML simplifies data interchange : A readily-available third-party tool can be used to transform an XML document into any other standard format. This makes it easy to exchange data between various organizations or within several departments in an organization. XML is extensible
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XML - CHAPTER 1 XML I n todays world electronic data...

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