XML: It's Not Your Father's HTML | WebReference

XML: It's Not Your Father's HTML

XML: It's Not Your Father's HTML

By Bruce Sharpe (SoftQuad Software Inc.)


XML has been one of the hottest subjects in the industry this year, and the momentum is building for even more attention in 1999. The messages: It's hot. It's coming soon. It'll replace HTML.

Taking that last bit of conventional wisdom first, it won't. XML isn't designed to supplant HTML. But what is XML, really? What does it mean for the Internet? What is its relationship with HTML?

The key thing to understand is:

HTML is about the display of content, XML is about creating, sharing and processing information.

XML gives you a way to define tags that are specific to a particular purpose. These tags look like HTML tags, but HTML tags are mainly used to describe the appearance of a Web page. XML tags describe the meaning of the information and does so in a format that is precisely defined and predictable. These characteristics give XML its real power, because they mean that XML can be processed automatically, in a wide variety of situations.

In this article, we look at XML in three different settings: a Web site production environment, on the server, and in the browser.

Comments are welcome

Created: Feb. 16, 1999
Revised: Feb. 18, 1999

URL: http://webreference.com/authoring/languages/xml/intro/