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concepts:xml
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XML

Extensible Markup Language is mostly used for the data-exchange on the Web and was orginally designed for electrinic publishing. It defines a set of rules for encoding documents in a simple, very flexible text format which is both human-readable and machine-readable. It is defined by the W3C's XML 1.0 Specification1), derived from SGML (ISO 8879) and other open standards.2)

Origin and Goals

XML was developed by an XML Working Group of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) in 1996. It was chaired by Jon Bosak of Sun Microsystems with the active participation of an XML Special Interest Group (previously known as the SGML Working Group) also organized by the W3C. The membership of the XML Working Group is given in an appendix. Dan Connolly served as the Working Group's contact with the W3C.3)

The design goals for XML are:

  1. XML shall be straightforwardly usable over the Internet.
  2. XML shall support a wide variety of applications.
  3. XML shall be compatible with SGML.
  4. It shall be easy to write programs which process XML documents.
  5. The number of optional features in XML is to be kept to the absolute minimum, ideally zero.
  6. XML documents should be human-legible and reasonably clear.
  7. The XML design should be prepared quickly.
  8. The design of XML shall be formal and concise.
  9. XML documents shall be easy to create.
  10. Terseness in XML markup is of minimal importance.

Key terminology

For an overview, here are some of the more important constructs used in XML.

(Unicode) character:
Processor and application:
Markup and content:
Tag:

Tags start with < and end with >, appearing in 3 shapes:

  • start-tags <section>
  • end-tags </section>
  • empty-element tags <line-break />
Element:
Attribute:
XML declaration:
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concepts/xml.txt · Last modified: 2015/03/27 16:17 (external edit)