Overview of XML, an indispensable tool in everyday life

“Measuring programming progress by lines of code is like measuring aircraft building progress by weight.”  –  Bill Gates

“In programming, do the simplest thing that could possibly work”

You need website to hype your professional offerings and therefore,  as an action plan, established mobile friendly web application.

Now  you had to get hands dirty with chunks of XML code


pay and hire XML expert to get the lacking feature.

This is usual scenario.

Whatever maximum flexibility is possible in the computer software realm, is available and achieved by XML markup language.


In specific,  this blog is useful to all professionals including

  • Engineers of any industry
  • Medical professionals
  • Auditors and accounting folks
  • Writers who use computers
  • Any individual

Because traditional tasks of all verticals are migrating to adopt digitization, there is no professional of any field of life that is exempted from learning common web quantum.

And XML is premier element of this common web fragment.

“Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning.”

What is XML ?

It is

standard set of rules

to write digital document

that can be read and interpreted by computer-like any machine.

  • In this sense, scope of XML is wider than computer.
  • Remember that XML documents are supposed to be readable by both humans and computers.
  • XML combines effects of English like text with binary files.

It is a bit like HTML, the technology that is transforming the world through internet.

Why XML is widely recognized ?

There is NO software company in the world which does NOT XML.

During past two decades, rapid strengthening of multitude of technologies

aimed at same purpose  like web development


  • competition and
  • problems of inter-state communication

between websites.

Fortunately, standard electronic cum software component exists through which all of these differently designed programming  languages can comprehensively transfer ‘STATE of DATA’ between them – XML (via WEB SERVICES)

 “When debugging, novices insert corrective code; experts remove defective code.”

Applications of XML


Not possible to cover in its entirety here.

Let us see few.

XML is versatile to

  1. Describe complex documents that can  be consumed by computer.

Because XML supports UNICODE.

We can use letters of any language including that of Indian, Chinese and other non generic ones.

  1. Extract only relevant, few pieces from a text file.

XML  parsers are software modules developed to return structured tree type information that can be interpreted by browsers or web clients.

Ample amount of such parsers are designed by software experts, like

  • Xerces Javaparser ( to build XML-aware web servers )
  • PHP SimpleXML( to read data from string )
  • XML expat parser( to hold entire document in memory )


  1. To set application’s configuration settings.

Often capabilities of JSON and XML are compared for this purpose.

But as far as software build processes are concerned,  XML is preferred frequently to store required configurations.

  1. To share data between systems.

XML shines and should be endorsed for this function.

Every language has its own XML parser and API to interchange data with external client.

Messages from both systems are appropriately formatted in XML and passed for communication.

  1. To support the styling and markup of webpages.

Although browsers can not digest XML bits, over the years, they have become liberated to allow and fix erroneous HTML and CSS.

XHTML is stricter form of HTML and sometimes recommended to tightly control and drive future of consistent web.

  1. To produce interaction oriented web experience.

In olden days (1990s!),  when laptops, hand-held devices and wireless protocols were NOT discovered, websites were simply published to showcase information.

After introduction of Java servlets, browsers could call HTML-less files to generate pop-ups that can stimulate feedback from visitor or execute some functionality in simple words.

So, Java servlet and other similar tools use XML only, to define browser conscious  document.


XML community is building quality eco-system to enhance and upgrade this precious tool to take XML to the next level.

Numerous standards are written on top of XML in favour of its design goals, to keep XML aligned to its purpuse and to ease working with it.

These include

  • Xpath
  • XSLT
  • XML schema


“Slaves are not allowed to say no. Labourers may be hesitant to say no. But professionals are expected to say no.

Indeed, good managers crave someone who has the guts to say no. It’s the only way you can really get anything done.”

Continue exploring more at..

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  • web application development
  • eCommerce related ideas or
  • to  get practical inputs or techniques to enhance your own mobile application navigate to

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