Getting to Know XML

As you undoubtedly know, the World Wide Web has grown in leaps and bounds in the past several years, both in magnitude and in technologies. The fact that people who, only a few short years ago had no interest in computers are now "net junkies", is a testament to how quickly the Web has infiltrated modern culture.

Just as the usefulness and appeal of the Web have grown rapidly, so have the technologies that make the Web possible. It all pretty much started with HTML (HyperText Markup Language), but a long list of acronyms, buzzwords, pipe dreams, and even a few killer technologies have since followed. XML (eXtensible Markup Language) is one of the rare technologies that actually progressed from bleeding edge hype to misunderstood buzzword to standard building block. XML has officially arrived, and is used behind the scenes in countless applications and web services.

XML's usage is continuing to grow quickly as both individuals and companies realize its potential. However, in many ways XML is still a relatively new technology, and many people, possibly you, are just now learning what it can do for them. Unlike some other software technologies such as HTML or even Java, XML is a little fuzzier in terms of how it is applied in different scenarios. Just as it's difficult to look at a person and grasp how their DNA makes them who they are, it can also be challenging to look at an application and get a grasp for how XML fits into the equation. This tutorial introduces you to XML and gives you some insight as to why it was created and what it can do.

In this tutorial, you'll learn

  • Exactly what XML is
  • The relationship between XML and HTML
  • How XML fits into web browsers
  • How XML is impacting the real world