XML in a Nutshell
What is XML?
XML is a markup language for documents containing structured information.
Structured information contains both content (words, pictures, etc.) and some indication of what role that content plays (for example, content in a section heading has a different meaning from content in a footnote, which means something different than content in a figure caption or content in a database table, etc.). Almost all documents have some structure.
A markup language is a mechanism to identify structures in a document. The XML specification defines a standard way to add markup to documents.
What's a Document?
The number of applications currently being developed that are based on, or make use of, XML documents is truly amazing (particularly when you consider that XML is not yet a year old)! For our purposes, the word "document" refers not only to traditional documents, like this one, but also to the miriad of other XML "data formats". These include vector graphics, e-commerce transactions, mathematical equations, object meta-data, server APIs, and a thousand other kinds of structured information.