Understand what XML is and what the uses of this markup language are – WAU

Behind the design and text of the websites, there is always a language of its own, one of which is XML. This acronym stands for Extensible Markup Language, that is, it is a markup language that defines a set of rules for encoding documents.

When creating your company’s website, you make it the representation of your business in digital media. The layout, images, text and other items that compose it are part of a reading set that are interpreted by the machines to show their customers the website as it is. XML is part of that set.

And, to let you know what it is, what its main functions are and how to open this type of file, stay with us until the end of this blog post!

What is XML?

XML is the acronym, in English, of Extensible Markup Language, that is, it is a markup language that defines a set of rules for encoding documents. Complicated? So, let’s simplify.

Markup language is a set of codes that can be applied when reading data or texts made by computers or people. The XML language provides a platform for defining markup elements and generating a custom language.

An XML file is divided into two parts: “prolog” and “body”. The “prolog” part consists of administrative metadata, such as XML declaration, optional processing instruction, document type declaration and comments. The “body” part is composed of two parts – structural and the content (present in the plain text).

XML design focuses on simplicity, generality and usability, and is therefore used for a variety of web services. So much so that there are systems designed to assist in the definition of languages ​​based on XML, as well as APIs that help in the processing of XML data, which should not be confused with HTML.

What is HTML?

HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) is the markup language for building web pages. Thus, the markup commands used in the web content refer to its structure and also to the layout that will be displayed in the browser.

That is, browsers read the document with HTML markup and process it on the screen when examining the HTML elements inserted in the document, which is considered as a text file with the information that needs to be published.

Therefore, it is even possible to generate an HTML file using the computer’s Notepad application, for example.

The embedded instructions are known as elements that show the structure and presentation of the document in the browser. These elements are composed of tags inside the angle bracket that surrounds some text.

The tags usually come in a pair: start and end tag. For example: to make the text so bold, tags are used in the beginning and in the end.

And what are the differences between XML and HTML?

To make it clear what distinguishes each other, we list here the main differences between XML and HTML:

  • XML is a text-based markup language that has a self-describing structure and can effectively define another markup language. On the other hand, HTML is a predefined markup language and has limited capacity;
  • XML provides logical structuring of the document, while the HTML structure is pre-defined, using the “head” and “body” tags;
  • when it comes to language, the HTML type is insensitive to upper and lower case. In contrast, XML is case-sensitive;
  • HTML was designed with an emphasis on data presentation characteristics. In contrast, XML is data specific;
  • XML does not allow any errors in the code. Conversely, in HTML, small errors can be overlooked;
  • blanks in XML are used for a specific use, since XML considers all characters. On the other hand, HTML can ignore whitespace;
  • XML tags must be closed, while in HTML an open tag can also work quite well;
  • the nesting in XML must be done correctly, as it has a great importance in XML syntax. HTML, for its part, does not care much about this aspect.

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What are the features of XML?

Now, here are the main features and advantages of XML:

XML separates data from HTML

If you need to display dynamic data in your HTML document, it will take a lot of work to edit it whenever the data changes.

With XML, data can be stored in separate XML files. That way, you can focus on using HTML for display and layout.

With a few lines of JavaScript code, you can read an external XML file and update the data content of your web page.

XML simplifies data sharing

Both computer systems and databases contain information in incompatible formats.

XML data is stored in plain text format, offering an independent way to store data. This makes it much easier to create data that can be shared by different applications.

XML simplifies data exchange

One of the most time-consuming challenges for developers is to exchange data between incompatible systems over the Internet.

Exchanging data as XML greatly reduces this complexity, as the data can be read by different incompatible applications.

XML simplifies platform change

Upgrading to new systems (hardware or software platforms) always takes time. Large amounts of data must be converted and incompatible data is usually lost.

XML data is stored in text format. This makes it easy to expand or upgrade to new information systems, new applications or new browsers, without data loss.

XML increases data availability

Different applications can access your data, not only on HTML pages, but also on XML data sources.

With XML, your data can be available for all types of “reading machines” (handheld computers, voice machines, news feeds, etc.) and it is easier to make them accessible to people who are blind or have other disabilities.

XML can be used to create new Internet languages

Many new Internet languages ​​are created with XML. Here are some examples:

  • XHTML;
  • WSDL;
  • WAP and WML;
  • RSS (used in news feeds);
  • RDF and OWL;
  • SMIL.

How to open XML files?

Although there are readers of this type of file, such as XML Explorer, here are 3 ways to open XML files on your computer.

With notepad

Since XML files are encoded with plain text, open the notepad (in the case of Windows) or text editor (on the Mac), click on “file” and then on “open”.

The information should appear at the top revealing that the content is in XML format.

The tags are used to store fragments of data. Note that some tags can be contained in others, creating a “tag tree”. For example, to create a Heading Tag 2 in bold, the formation will be

here the title is inserted

Using a browser

Right click on the XML file saved on your computer and choose the option “Open with”. Choose your browser to open the file.

In this case, you cannot edit the document. In contrast, he is viewed more clearly than in the notepad, as the browser uses varying colors to display the document in text format.

By Excel

Since Excel is not the ideal program for reading this type of file, you must open Excel first and then open the XML document in it.

Therefore, click on “file”, then on “open”. Excel will display a message whose first option is to open it as an XML table. Confirm and the XML will be converted into a table, based on the tags in the file.

Now, if your digital strategy has XML files, you already know how to read them. Taking advantage of this, also check out our complete content on launching websites and find out exactly what you need to do to launch yours!