People who are not into web development and programming very often misunderstand and confuse XML and HTML definitions. In order to explain the difference between these two terms – let’s appeal to a definition and structural elements of XML language.
XML is a shortening for Extensible Markup Language. However, it is wrong to suppose XML stands only for this definition and exists only as a markup language because at the same time XML should be also understood as a metalanguage as well. As a markup language XML shows the specific path for data containing in an electronic document which has to be used by another application, XML denotes a document’s structure and content for another computer program to identify them. It marks up the content via a title and certain tags/symbols. The same role plays another popular markup language HTML and that is why many people find them very similar if not identical ones.
XML serves as a method letting in a flexible way develop and then share data in general information formats in order to transfer them to the Internet, intranets, etc. XML can be applied within a group for sharing certain data online or by individuals who want to encrypt transferred information.
By means of all metalanguages including XML it is possible to perform calculations and actions in certain programs like C++ or Java. A metalanguage allows creating new languages (based on XML) which in their turn let creation of new documents and files. Many modern applications and programs are based on XML – Java Servlets, SharePoint, MathML and RSS programming XHTML, etc.
As a markup language XML applies the following major tags <zone> and </zone> to mark up data of a document. Such data marked up with this tags is called an element. If there are used name-value pairs of tags to give a definition of an element they are called as attributes. For instance, zone= “postal code” shows what an element has been defined in the XML based data as a postal code to emphasize it.
Along with XML elements and attributes is used the so-called a document type definition (shortly DTD) which shows XML data in a document separated by paragraphs and headings. A XML DTD reader app receives a message with any sort of XML based data and processes this data to display properly the information it encrypts. XML is applied only to transport data in one of text formats. If a user intends to display the data to an interface he should convert XML based information into a different format, for instance, scalable vector graphics.
XML and HTML: Similar or Different?
Being both markup languages containing markup symbols and used in similar web applications XML and HTML differ from one another significantly. XML is applied to transfer and store data in a text format, focusing on data’s content. And HTML was developed to display document’s data focusing on the way this data looks. XML based documents carry information, while HTML documents display this information.