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Chapter Four. XML Conquers the World (An... > The Universal Language (XML)

The Universal Language (XML)

Chapter 3, “The Trouble with Standards,” described how poor compliance in early browsers persuaded many designers and developers that standards were a pipe dream, leading some to cling doggedly to counterproductive, obsolete methods, and others to embrace Flash to the exclusion of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Reading that chapter might have convinced you that web standards face an uphill battle in terms of acceptance and correct usage. Then what are we to make of XML?

The Extensible Markup Language standard (www.w3.org/TR/2000/REC-xml-20001006), introduced in February 1998, took the software industry by storm [4.1]. For the first time, the world was offered a universal, adaptable format for structuring documents and data, not only on the web, but everywhere. The world took to it as a lad in his Sunday best takes to mud puddles.

4.1. “Mommy, there's XML on my computer!” Run a quick search on an average Macintosh, and you'll find hundreds of XML files. Some store operating system preferences, whereas others drive printers. Still others are essential components of applications including Acrobat, iPhoto, iTunes, Eudora, Internet Explorer, Mozilla, Chimera, Flash MX, Dreamweaver MX, and more. XML is a web standard that goes way beyond the web.


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