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   Re: html, xml

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  • From: Avi Rappoport <avirr@LanMinds.Com>
  • To: "Juliane Harbarth" <jhb@software-ag.de>, <xml-dev@ic.ac.uk>
  • Date: Thu, 5 Nov 1998 10:03:47 -0800

> Kasetty, Ramesh >I have knowledge of HTML and trying to learn XML. Can
> anyone tell me the
> Kasetty, Ramesh >difference between HTML and XML and where XML can used.
> HTML uses a fixed set of tags, to specify display properties for those
> things
> enclosed in the tags. XML allows the definition of tags that enable the
> specification of semantic properties.
> In my opinion XML offers the great benefit of being more processable by
> machines than HTML. That especially holds for retrieval. Who wants to know
> whether a certain document contains '1234' within <P>-Tags ? But a
> question like 'which document contains 1234 as an Employee-Number'
> makes sense.

While I'm obsessed with search and XML, I think that's not going to be the 
short-term gain with XML.

XML is not a set of tags like HTML, it's a set of simple rules for defining 
tags for your own content.  This lets you use XML files for data 
interchange.  Eventually, you'll be able to post them to the Web with 
associated style sheets and people will view them (but not until 5.0 
browsers come out).

There are major advantages for using XML files for data storage and 
especialy for data interchange.  XML formats are basically self-documenting 
and are meant to be both human and machine-readable.  That means that you 
will be able to read the file in 10 or 20 years, unlike most other data 
structures.  You can read and write a valid XML file from any 
XML-generating application, so you aren't locked into a single program with 
a proprietary file format.  It's based on Unicode, so it's not limited to 
Western languages.  While XML is not very efficient for database access, 
database programs can read and write XML files very easily.

For more information, see <http://www.xml.com/>, the FAQs at 
<http://netlingo.com/more/xmlfaq.htm>, <http://www.ucc.ie/xml/> and the 
news page at <http://www.oasis-open.org/cover/sgmlnew.html>.

Hope that helps!

Avi Rappoport, Web Site Search Tools Maven: <mailto:avirr@lanminds.com>
Guide to Site Indexing and Local Search Engines: <http://www.searchtools.com>

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