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Making Sense of XML Data

When you look at XML data for the first time, it can be somewhat confusing. XML data can run together in a big chunk or be indented with lots of white space, unlike Excel worksheets and Access data tables, which present data in well-defined rows, columns, and cells. Pieces of XML data can be defined by a vast number of symbols, such as greater-than (>), less-than (<), and division (/) symbols, foreign characters such as &amp; and &gt;, and lots of quotation marks. Understanding the W3C XML rules and how these symbols are used in XML is the first task you must master before you can create, read, analyze, and exchange XML data.

To familiarize yourself with what XML data looks like, use Internet Explorer to open and view the CustList.xml file in the Chap10 folder. We’ll use this file in several of the exercises in this chapter. As you learn more, the structure and meaning of the XML document will become more clear.


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