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Chapter 11. XML and Web Services > XML for Data Exchange

XML for Data Exchange

In the same way that ASCII unified the representation of computer data, XML is unifying the representation of structured computer information. There are many reasons for this.

  • XML is soothing.

    Competitive groups find it possible to agree on standardized document formats for domain-specific information, either because XML isn't viewed as anyone's proprietary baliwick or because it is flexible enough to be inclusive.

  • XML lets general-purpose software handle variant data.

    XML is designed to carry many different document formats in a uniform way. Software that processes XML can therefore handle multiple document types without modification while still being able to modify and process the parts of documents that they understand. The alternative approaches require opaque objects or high degrees of complexity.

  • XML simplifies application architecture.

    Many business applications require communication, processing, and storage of many different document types. The use of XML for all of these functions provides a uniform framework for information that both simplifies the application architecture and increases the degree of reuse of code.


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