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XML File


What is an XML file?

An XML file, which stands for Extensible Markup Language, is a type of markup language document used to store structured data online. XML files can be created with any text editor or XML editor software, using custom tags to describe and store data in a hierarchical manner. Additionally, XML documents can be validated for accuracy against a Document Type Definition (DTD) or an XML schema.

What are XML files used for?

XML is an important tool for integrating different systems, as it allows developers to use a common language between them. It’s becoming more popular with the emergence of advanced technologies, such as cloud computing and mobile development.

An XML file contains information similar to an HTML file, but it’s considered more flexible and can be used with any type of data. XML files are commonly used to collect and transfer information between different applications and systems, such as RSS feeds, websites and databases, without the need for manual conversion or coding. These files are compressed and encrypted to make data more secure.

Generally, XML files store information in a hierarchical structure which makes it more easy to retrieve. This is especially useful for websites with content that’s customizable by the user, such as dynamic pages.

How to open an XML file

XML files can be opened and edited using a variety of programs, including text editors like Notepad++ or xml editors such as Altova XMLSpy. They should always be validated for accuracy against a Document Type Definition (DTD) or an XML schema with XSD (XML Schema Definition) and XSLT (XML Stylesheet Language Transformation).

XML documents can also be viewed with a web browser, although the formatting might be distorted. They’re generally read-only formats, meaning changes cannot be made directly to the file itself, but rather must be applied through an editor or XML application. They must also be saved or converted into other formats such as HTML, JSON or text before being used and read in other applications.


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XML files and HTML

XML files can be used in conjunction with HTML to create dynamic and interactive web pages. XML is what provides the underlying structure of data, while HTML is used to format and display the content to the user. For someone considering how to create a website with a low code, no code builder, XML mapping is done behind the scenes.

XML files and escape commands

XML documents may contain escape commands that alter the format of the XML markup. Escape commands are essential for dealing with XML documents, since they enable authors to add extra information within a tag or on another XML structure—such as adding formatting, inserting comments into the files or embedding data into XML documents. Escape commands are usually surrounded by symbols so they’re not mistaken for regular XML tags.


Related Term


Related Term

Business-to-Business (B2B)

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