XML Uses

This page lists some XML uses and advantages.

When I first began to read about XML, I had to ask, "What are its practical uses?". I also wondered where it is actually being used currently and how can I actually use it. I was not aware of any tools that I could use to display XML. I did not know how I could see the results of my XML documents. However many modern web browsers today will display XML such as Internet Explorer version 5 or later.

Advantages

Since HTML has been so widely used and works so well (with some weaknesses) I had to wonder what the advantages of using XML are. A few are listed below:

  • You can define your own elements and thereby support a much wider variety of information display. XML may be used to describe chemical structures, or other scientific or artistic data that cannot be readily displayed using HTML.
  • Documents may be better organized into structures to allow for easier reference using and generating items like a table of contents.
  • XML allows elements to be used to sort through database information readily.

Implementations

There are many implementations of XML which utilize their own DTD (Document Type Definition). Many have different purposes such as writing technical documentation, math formulas, sheet music, and so forth. The biggest drawback to these various implementations of XML is that for the most part, it seems that you will need to read the DTD or read documentation about the XML implementation in order to use it. If this is required, it would be like learning HTML for each XML implementation. Therefore there should be supporting programs that allow users to use XML implementations without having to learn each implementation. I think there are some programs that allow users to create XML files for some XML implementations, but I'm not sure which ones provide for this. My prediction is that XML implementations not supported by user friendly programs, will likely fail (and should) fail to become popular.