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Chapter 17. Working with XML > Understanding XML

Understanding XML

Technically speaking, XML is a pared-down version of the Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML), created especially for Web documents. It allows system administrators to create customized tags for their industry or business. These tags surround key pieces of information in a document. These key pieces can then be extracted and used in other applications.

XML files are plain text files, just like Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) files. The only difference is that HTML tags are predefined and XML tags are not. Someone has to define the tags that are going to be used, how they are to be used, and how they can appear in a document. This type of document definition is known as an XML Schema. Many professional groups, industries, and associations are developing XML Schemas to facilitate the sharing of data.


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