XML is similar to HTML or HyperText Markup Language and XML or Extensible HyperText Markup Language. What makes XML or Extensible Markup Language different is that it allows you to create your own customized markup language.
In short, (X)HTML is what displays data to visitors to your site while XML defines what that data is.
The advantage of XML is that it can be used with all types of software and hardware. XML doesn’t actually “do” anything. Its usefulness is that it allows you to create customized types of data that can later be retrieved or sorted.
HTML and XHTML are restricted by a limited number of predefined tags which define what kinds or categories of data that you’re sending. XML is different in that it allows you to create your own tags.
The benefits of using XML include:
- It makes it easier to classify data for sharing.
- It makes it easier to classify data for transport.
- It makes it easier to convert data to a new format.
- It makes data more easily available.
Think about a computer system used in a bank that was written decades ago. Over time, these systems become outdated and it takes a lot of time and effort for developers to convert the old system to a new one. Furthermore, when this data is converted, some of it is incompatible and therefore lost.
XML is easy to convert and upgrade because it is written in plain text format. In the future, if you wanted to convert an older format that uses XML to a new format, the customized XML tags make it a lot simpler to do because they can be easily “searched and replaced” to the new format.
You can also create custom software applications to parse data using XML tags, which is really useful especially in the emerging field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML).