What is XML?

XML is for structuring data including things like spreadsheets, address books, configuration parameters, financial transactions, and technical drawings. XML is a set of rules (you may also think of them as guidelines or conventions) for designing text formats that let you structure your data. XML is not a programming language, and you don’t have to be a programmer to use it or learn it. XML makes it easy for a computer to generate data, read data, and ensure that the data structure is unambiguous.

Like HTML, XML makes use of tags (words bracketed by ‘<‘ and ‘>’) and attributes (of the form name="value"). While HTML specifies what each tag and attribute means, and often how the text between them will look in a browser, XML uses the tags only to delimit pieces of data, and leaves the interpretation of the data completely to the application that reads it.

Programs that produce spreadsheets, address books, and other structured data often store that data on disk, using either a binary or text format. One advantage of a text format is that it allows people, if necessary, to look at the data without the program that produced it; in a pinch, you can read a text format with your favorite text editor.xml




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