• Subject: Re: XML
  • From: "Roger Pence" <rp@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 30 Sep 1999 12:04:36 -0500

> What is XML, i've heard about it, but not about what it is and can do.

XML is a follow-on technology to HTML. However, where HTML is designed to
simply broadcast marked up text, XML defines and stores data. Unlike HTML,
which uses a fixed, standard set of tags (ie, </Head>,</Body>, and </Table>)
XML uses user-defined, document-specific tags. These tags are defined in a
separate document called a DTD (Document Type Declaration). Think of DTD as
a DDS member describing the "fields" in an XML document. When used in
conjunction with a DTD, a browser (with native or snapped in XML support)
can then read and use the XML document.

A tiny example of an XML document fragment is shown below. This XML document
assumes a DTD is available that defines orders for a wholesale distributor.
A browser could use this document to update the order data for example, and
then pass this document on to another process for back-end database
updating. See http://www.w3.org/XML/ for more on XML.

As XML matures, the potential exists for it to become a platform-independent
method of describing data and passing that data around from platform to
platform. For example, with an XML standard firmly in place, and with an
appropriate DTD defined, CA/400 data transfer could transfer DB2/400 to and
from the AS/400 in XML format. With an XML-compliant version of MS Access,
using the same DTD, a seamless data transfer (keeping things such as data
types, decimal points, and date formatting intact) could be initiated using
the CA/400-generated XML.


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