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Compatible by Nature

Because they share a common parent and abide by the same house rules, all XML applications are compatible with each other, making it easier for developers to manipulate one set of XML data via another and to develop new XML applications as the need arises, without fear of incompatibility.

Ubiquitous in today's professional and consumer software, widely used in web middleware and back-end development, essential to the emerging web services market, and forward compatible by design, XML solves the obsolescence problem described in Chapter 1, “99.9% of Websites Are Obsolete.” XML has succeeded beyond anyone's wildest dreams because it solves everyone's worst nightmares of incompatibility and technological dead ends.

Software makers, disinclined to risk customer loss by being the “odd man out,” recognize that supporting XML enables their products to work with others and remain viable in a changing market. Executives and IT professionals, unwilling to let proprietary legacy systems continue to hold their organization's precious data hostage, can solve their problem lickety-split by converting to XML. Small independent developers can compete against the largest companies by harnessing the power of XML, which rewards brains, not budgets.

In today's data-driven world, proprietary formats no longer cut it—if they ever did. XML levels the playing field and invites everyone to play. XML is a web standard, and it works.

And that is the hallmark of a good standard: that it works, gets a job done, and plays well with other standards. Call it interoperability (the W3C's word for it), or call it simple cooperation between components. Whatever you call it, XML is a vast improvement over the bad old days of proprietary web technologies. Under the spell of web standards, competitors, too, have learned to cooperate.

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