lanky Girl

3.5 XML -Extensible Markup Language

In DITA on December 29, 2009 at 7:48 pm

This week in DITA we have been focusing on XML and its relationships with HTML and XHTML.

Simply the difference between XML and HTML is that XML files describe the data and HTML holds the data. XML like HTML is a mark up language but it was created with the purpose to help retain the flexibility whilst reducing its complexity. XML generally came about because of the desire to make HMTL’s vocabulary more fixed.

In comparison with HTML the rules that govern XML files are strict. XML files should be well formed meaning that they conform to the XML syntax rules such as:

  •          All XML elements must have a closing tag. (In HTML this is not always necessary.)
  •          XML tags are case sensitive.
  •          All XML elements must be properly nested.
  •          All XML documents must have a root tag.
  •          Attribute values must always be quoted.

XML files should also be Valid which means which conforms to the rules of a Document Type Definition (DTD). When these rules are not followed they make the XML files unusable while in HTML if they were ignored it would be detrimental. XHTML is HTML reformulated in XML syntax.

One of the benefits of XML is that fact that it allows the content of the document to be separated from the semantic information. In the context of Electronic publishing where different platforms for accessing information ( PDA, PC, ) are used decisions made about presentation can be  left until the documents are delivered thereby aiding interoperability.


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