XML Tutorials - Herong's Tutorial Examples
Dr. Herong Yang, Version 4.10

Main Features of XML

This section provides a quick description of XML features and advantages. The power of XML comes from its simplicity and extensibility.

Main features of XML:

  • XML files are text files, which can be managed by any text editor.
  • XML is very simple, because it has less than 10 syntax rules.
  • XML is extensible, because it only specifies the structural rules of tags. No specification on tags them self.

Because of these features, XML offers following advantages as described by en.wikipedia.org:

  • XML provides a basic syntax that can be used to share information between different kinds of computers, different applications, and different organizations. XML data is stored in plain text format. This software- and hardware-independent way of storing data allows different incompatible systems to share data without needing to pass them through many layers of conversion. This also makes it easier to expand or upgrade to new operating systems, new applications, or new browsers, without losing any data.
  • With XML, your data can be available to all kinds of "reading machines" (Handheld computers, voice machines, news feeds, etc), and make it more available for blind people, or people with other disabilities.
  • XML provides a gateway for communication between applications, even applications on wildly different systems. As long as applications can share data (through HTTP, file sharing, or another mechanism), and have an XML parser, they can share structured information that is easily processed. Databases can trade tables, business applications can trade updates, and document systems can share information.
  • It supports Unicode, allowing almost any information in any written human language to be communicated.
  • It can represent common computer science data structures: records, lists and trees.
  • Its self-documenting format describes structure and field names as well as specific values.
  • The strict syntax and parsing requirements make the necessary parsing algorithms extremely simple, efficient, and consistent.
  • Content-based XML markup enhances searchability, making it possible for agents and search engines to categorize data instead of wasting processing power on context-based full-text searches.
  • XML is heavily used as a format for document storage and processing, both online and offline.
  • It is based on international standards.
  • It can be updated incrementally.
  • It allows validation using schema languages such as XSD and Schematron, which makes effective unit-testing, firewalls, acceptance testing, contractual specification and software construction easier.
  • The hierarchical structure is suitable for most (but not all) types of documents.
  • It is platform-independent, thus relatively immune to changes in technology.
  • Forward and backward compatibility are relatively easy to maintain despite changes in DTD or Schema.
  • Its predecessor, SGML, has been in use since 1986, so there is extensive experience and software available.

Table of Contents

 About This Book

Introduction of XML (eXtensible Markup Language)

 What Is XML?

Main Features of XML

 XML File Syntax

 XML File Browsers

 DOM (Document Object Model) Programming Interface

 SAX (Simple API for XML) Programming Interface

 DTD (Document Type Definition) Introduction

 Syntaxes of DTD Statements

 Validating an XML Document against the Specified DTD Document Type

 XSD (XML Schema Definition) Introduction

 Syntaxes of XSD Statements

 Validating an XML Document against the Specified XML Schema

 XSL (Extensible Stylesheet Language) Introduction

 XSLT (XSL Transformations) Introduction

 Java Implementation of XSLT

 XPath (XML Path) Language

 XSLT Elements as Programming Statements

 Control and Generate XML Element in the Result

 XML Notepad - XML Editor

 XML Tools Plugin for Notepad++

 References

 Printable Copy - PDF Version

Dr. Herong Yang, updated in 2013
Main Features of XML