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Memahami XML

Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a data storage toolkit, a configurable vehicle for any kind of information, an evolving and open standard embraced by everyone from bankers to webmasters. In just a few years, it has captured the imagination of technology pundits and industry mavens alike. So what is the secret of its success?

A short list of XML’s features says it all:
• XML can store and organize just about any kind of information in a form that is tailored to your needs.
• As an open standard, XML is not tied to the fortunes of any single company, nor married to any particular software.
• With Unicode as its standard character set, XML supports a staggering number of writing systems (scripts) and symbols, from Scandinavian runic characters to Chinese Han ideographs.
• XML offers many ways to check the quality of a document, with rules for syntax, internal link checking, comparison to document models, and datatyping.
• With its clear, simple syntax and unambiguous structure, XML is easy to read and parse by humans and programs alike.
• XML is easily combined with stylesheets to create formatted documents in any style you want. The purity of the information structure does not get in the way of format conversions.

All of this comes at a time when the world is ready to move to a new level of connectedness. The volume of information within our reach is staggering, but the limitations of existing technology can make it difficult to access. Businesses are scrambling to make a presence on the Web and open the pipes of data exchange, but are hampered by incompatibilities with their legacy data systems. The open source movement has led to an explosion of software development, and a consistent communications interface has become a necessity. XML was designed
to handle all these things, and is destined to be the grease on the wheels of the information infrastructure.

This chapter provides a wide-angle view of the XML landscape. You’ll see how XML works and how all the pieces fit together, and this will serve as a basis for future chapters that go into more detail about the particulars of stylesheets, transformations, and document models. By the end of this book, you’ll have a good idea of how XML can help with your information management needs, and an inkling of where you’ll need to go next.

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August 21, 2007 - Posted by | Web Programming

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