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Chapter 7. Importing and Exporting > Form and Function: XML

Form and Function: XML

XML stands for “Extensible Markup Language.” What the heck does that mean? It’s easy to be scared off—XML is usually mentioned in the same breath as SOAP, DTDs, XSL, metadata, structured content, and schema. With all of the buzzwords and jargon surrounding the topic, it’s easy to lose track of something very basic: XML is simple.

XML is just a way to mark up (or tag) information in a text file. Any application that can read and write text files can be used to write XML. Like HTML, XML uses tags, such as “<h1>”, to mark a piece of text. Unlike HTML, XML doesn’t have a limited set of predefined tags. That’s what the “extensible” part of the acronym means—that you can make up your own tags. You’re not limited to <h1>, <h2>, <p>, and so on, as you are in HTML.


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