XML Definition & Meaning

What Is XML?

XML is an acronym for Extensible Markup Language, which is a markup language and file format for storing, transmitting, and reconstructing arbitrary data. XML is used to share structured data between computers, people, and apps within a network or locally.

XML files contain sets of rules that enable recipients to access and interpret the data within a file. The language cannot perform computational actions on its own and needs software to implement the structured data it contains.

Besides data transfer, XML is also used for technical documentation and data structuring of web pages. An XML file is a text file that contains a declaration, elements (tags), attributes, and content. All tags have a hierarchical structure. The top tag is called the root element, while those under it are called child elements.

XML, or Extensible Markup Language, is a standard format for representing and exchanging structured data on the web. XML can be used in semantic search to provide rich and meaningful information about the content and structure of web documents, as well as to enable interoperability and integration of data from different sources.

XML has come into common use for the interchange of data over the Internet. Hundreds of document formats using XML syntax have been developed, including RSS, Atom, Office Open XML, OpenDocument, SVG, COLLADA, and XHTML.

Sometimes XML gets confused with HTML (Hypertext Markup Language). Even though HTML and XML languages look similar, their syntax, rules, and general purpose is different. HTML only displays data, while XML structures and transmits data.

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