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Chapter Four. XML Conquers the World (An... > Builds Strong Data Five Ways

Builds Strong Data Five Ways

On the web, XML is increasingly the format of choice for IT professionals, developers, and content specialists who must work with data housed in large corporate or institutional systems. Choosy mothers choose XML for five reasons, many of which will be familiar from the preceding discussion:

  • Like ASCII, XML is a single, universal file format that plays well with others.

  • Unlike ASCII (or HTML), XML is an intelligent, self-aware format. XML not only holds data; it can also hold data about the data (metadata), facilitating Search and other functions.

  • XML is an extensible language, capable of being customized to suit the needs of any institution, company, or business or academic category, and of generating additional XML-based languages that perform specific tasks, such as data syndication or the delivery of web services.

  • XML is based on rules that ensure consistency as data is transferred to other databases, transformed to other formats, or manipulated by other XML applications.

  • Via additional XML protocols and XML-based helper languages, XML data can be automatically transferred to a wide variety of formats, from web pages to printed catalogs and annual reports. This transformational power is the stuff developers could only dream about before XML came along. Nor do corporate bean counters fail to appreciate the cost-saving efficiencies that XML facilitates.

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