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My First XML Document

We have dealt with some basic XML concepts already, so now we are prepared to leap forward and take a closer look at this powerful language. The X in XML stands for eXtensible- in other words, the language can be extended to meet the requirements of a specific situation.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:
  1. My First XML Document
  2. Tools For Browsing XML
  3. Tools For Parsing XML
  4. Microsoft XML Parser
  5. Creating An XML Document
  6. Tools For The Trade
By: Gayathri Gokul
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September 22, 2003

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We have dealt with some basic XML concepts already, so now we are prepared to leap forward and take a closer look at this powerful language. The X in XML stands for eXtensible- in other words, the language can be extended to meet the requirements of a specific situation. The basis of XML is the XML document, in its most essential form, it is a text file with .xml extension that contains text, data, and XML tags. Technically speaking XML is not a language but rather it is a metalanguage, a language for defining other languages.

In practical terms, this means that you are not limited to a predefined set of tags in creating an XML document-You can create any tag you need for a specific application. XML standard provides a set of rules that specify some details, such as how to create tags and how an XML document can be structured, but within the XML framework you are free to define and use tags that best suit the data. Whether your XML document contains mailing list, a web page, or an inventory information, you can represent and structure the data with essentially complete freedom. XML was specifically designed so that the storage of data in an XML document would place no constraint on the display of the data.

The XML standard was created by World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) which is an open, public organization whose task is to develop technologies and standards for the Internet. Because the XML standard is public, it is not owned or dominated by any single commercial interest. Companies such as IBM, Microsoft, Sun had developed many of the current standards for data storage and manipulation. These so-called proprietary standards may work well, but since a single company controls them, an outside developer has no assurance that the standard will not change without warning, subject to licensing fee, or dropped altogether. With a public standard as XML you know these things cannot happen. Hence it is worth spending time learning about a technology which is meant to stay and rule. {mospagebreak title=Tools For Working With XML} A common question that is asked by developers just getting started with XML is “What tools do I use to work with XML?” This is a tough question to answer. Unlike some development technologies, XML does not require any specific software package. Say you want to program in Visual Basic all you need is MS Visual Basic. Since XML is non proprietary in nature anyone is free to create and distribute tools for working in XML. This situation means there are many tools available for you to choose from, we will be dealing with them shortly.{mospagebreak title=Tools For Creating XML} Because XML are text files, you could use any text editor, including Notepad utility that comes with the MS Windows to create XML files. You should not use word processing programs such as Microsoft word, unless you are sure it can save your file as plain text. Plain text editors can be cumbersome when it comes to XML editing task, so you my want to consider one of the many specialized XML editors that are available. These programs automate or simplify many aspects of creating XML, thus easing your job as programmer. Some editors have a parser integrated with them. XML editors are available as commercial software, as shareware and as freeware. You can locate various editors by performing web search on the term “XML editor”. Microsoft provides a free XML editor called XML Notepad.

 
 
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