What are the main characteristics of XML?


XML is independent of the platform, meaning that every program built to use XML can read and manage XML data, no matter the hardware or the operating system. For example, with the right XML tags, you will have the possibility to use a program to open and to operate data from a mainframe computer. Moreover, it won’t matter if the XML data are made by somebody else, you can manage them using the programs from MS Office. As it is completely portable, XML has become one of the most popular technologies to exchange data between databases and the desktops of the users.


Quick review of the schemes

Don’t be intimidated by the word “scheme.” A scheme is just an XML file that contains the rules referring to the content of an XML data file. The scheme files are using the extension .xsd, while the data XML files are using the extension .xml.

The schemes will allow the programs to validate data. This offers a frame for data structuring, making sure that the data makes sense for the creator and any other user. For example, if a user introduces incorrect data, like a text in a data field, the program will warn the user to introduce the right data. As long as the data from an XML file are introduced considering the rules from a given scheme, any program that accepts XML can be used as a scheme to read, interpret, and change the data.

Schemes that allow the applications to split XML data

The schemes can become complex. You will have to know how they are looking, even if you are not going to use them. However, this is only for making a difference between them. You will never need them as a simple user, and your IT department is responsible for creating the schemes, so you must contact them whenever you have problems.

Don’t worry if you can’t understand it. Just keep in mind the following aspects:

The elements from the line are called declarations. If you need additional information about an animal, like the color and the mark, there is a chance that the IT department would add it to the scheme. The XML system can be modified as the system evolves.

The declarations are offering a huge control over the data structure. For example, the declaration <xsd:sequence> tells you that the tags, such as <NAME> and <BREED> can be displayed in the right order. The declarations can also control the type of data that the users can introduce. For example, the scheme requires a positive integer number for the age of dog, and a logical value yes/not for the tags Altered and Declawed.

The data are conforming to the rules offered by the scheme, and it is considered that the characters introduced are valid. The greatest advantage of schemes is that they are making sure all the data are valid, and they also facilitate the detection process of incorrect data, warning the users about this aspect.

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