Technology / XML
Extensible Markup Language (XML) is the universal format for data on the Web. XML allows developers to describe information using a meaningful and structured format, and to manipulate that information in flexible ways.

Information that is stored in an XML format has the same basic structure as HTML. HTML uses a set of markup tags (words surrounded by '<' and '>')to describe the format of a web page, and the browser recognises these elements   and knows how to display the content that appears between the opening and closing tags.

HTML provides a fixed set of tags for describing the appearance of a document. XML, on the other hand, allows developers or web-site designers to create element names that reflect the purpose of the application. For example, an XML document storing information about books might have the following structure:

    <TITLE>Code Complete</TITLE>
    <AUTHOR>Steve McConnell</AUTHOR>
    <PUBLISHER>Microsoft Press</PUBLISHER>

MicroMac recognised the value of XML as a storage format for structured data when XML was still an emerging standard. Working in an environment where test results were traditionally stored in ASCII files, MicroMac designed a Test Data Collection and Analysis system based on an XML test results file. An early implementation of this format illustrates the self-describing nature of XML.

The representation of an XML document in a browser is determined by the web-site or application developer. XML transformations are often used to generate HTML for rendering in a browser. MicroMac have implemented a web-based operation card manager which uses XML as the document storage format and allows standard HTML content to be included in the operation details.

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