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Part: VII Appendixes and Bonus Content o... > Introduction to XML and XSL - Pg. 914

914 Visual Authoring with XML IN THIS APPENDIX · · · · · · · · Introduction to XML and XSL Dreamweaver's XML Authoring Environment Creating an XML Document Creating an XSL Transformation Working with Dynamic Text Repeating Regions Conditional Regions Consuming RSS Feeds Introduction to XML and XSL HTML, as you know, is short for HyperText Markup Language. The "markup" refers to the library of tags that describes how data should be organized or structured on the page. The browser then parses the information out of those tags and presents it to the user in a friendly and legible fashion. What HTML doesn't do, however, is give any information about what the data means, called met- adata. Without metadata, search engines and other data-filtering techniques have to rely on keyword searches or content searches to retrieve information for the user. XML is about metadata and the fact that different people have different needs for how they cate- gorize and organize that data. Like HTML, XML is a set of tags and declarations. Rather than being concerned with how the data is structured and subsequently parsed by the browser, XML provides information on what the data means and how it relates to other data. In the near term, XML provides an immediate opportunity for intranet database-driven site devel- opment. As could be the case with our fictitious Dorknozzle company, departments (including even yours) can use the same database in different ways. Accounting needs payable and receivable information, Sales wants to monitor information by salesperson to figure out commission structures, and Marketing wants data organized by product and industry segment to figure out future release strategies. Using XML, you can customize the presentation of the queried data in a fashion most useful to the person making the query. As is true for HTML, XML's purpose is to describe the content of a document. Unlike HTML, XML does not describe how that content should be displayed. Instead, it describes what that content is. Using XML, the web developer can mark up the contents of a document, describing that content in terms of its relevance as data. Take a look at the following HTML element: <P>Cammy the Content Manager</P> This example describes the contents within the tags as a paragraph. This is fine if all we are con- cerned with is displaying the words Cammy the Content Manager on a web page. But what if we want to access those words as data? Using XML, we can mark up the words Cammy the Content Manager in a way that better reflects their significance as data: