What is XML?

XML stands for eXtensible Markup Language. It is not a programming language, but rather a method of storing data in structured and useful ways. Like HTML pages, XML pages involve the use of 'tags'. For instance, an XML page might include the following elements:

1. <Film>
2. <Title>It's A Wonderful Life!</Title>
3. <Director>Frank Capra</Director>
4. </Film>

Unlike HTML, there is no set group of acceptable XML tags. Rather, individual users can create their own tags to describe their data in the appropriate way. There is no direct way to translate XML to HTML, because XML pages need not contain any information about layout. However, one can use the companion technology XSL (eXtensible Style Language) to define a media-independent publishing format for XML pages.

Why use XML?

Most commentators assume that in the future much web content will be written in the first place in XML (the Softsteel site is generated from XML via XSL). This should lead to significant advantages in using the Internet to find and communicate structured data. The drive towards XML is supported by such major companies as Sun, Netscape and Microsoft.

Link Building Information