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PDF versus XML

To understand the relationship between XML and PDF, you need to know something about the origins and function of each. PDF, as I've explained throughout this book, provides a structured, object-oriented way to view content. Not surprisingly, since it stems from PostScript, PDF is optimized to represent (in print or onscreen) graphically rich, typeset pages.

XML, however, is a whole different ball game: It provides a means of describing data in a text file. As a markup language, it uses fixed syntax rules to “mark up”—or tag—a file's text and data in a format that can vary for different document styles. XML grew out of SGML, the Standard Generalized Markup Language, which is also a system for organizing and tagging document elements, developed by the ISO. While SGML provides a standard way to define and represent text in a device- and system-independent electronic format, XML, developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), provides a standard format specifically designed for structured documents and data on the Web.


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