XML simplified – understanding the structure

Posted by kumarjit in The Internet, Web Design Tutorials

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XML simplified – understanding the


XML is actually an”Extensible Markup Language” which follows a set of certain rules to encode documents in machine language. The main goals of XML language are easy usability, generality and simplicity while working on internet. It is mainly used for transportations and storage of data rather than displaying it unlike HTML. This concept is defined in XML 1 specification marketed by W3C. All the tags used are user defined. The most popular XML language so far developed includes Atom, Soap, and XHTML, ms office, apple’s iWork, open office and RSS. All the information required by the user is written on the tags. One can also design his software for receiving, sending and displaying information.

General format of XML document

XML simplified - understanding the structure

Key Terminologies

Key terminologies are basically XML Specifications, which are very essential while writing XML documents. They are as follows:

Unicode Character

XML documents are basically a collection of characters in the form of strings. Almost every Unicode character happens to appear in every XML documents.

XML simplified - understanding the structure

Grouping of characters

Characters of XML documents are subdivided into group’s content and markup. These content and markup characters are easily distinguished by simple application of syntactic rules. Those strings which begin with ‘<’ character or end with’>’ character or those beginning with ‘&’ and ending with ‘;’ character are considered as markup language. Rest all strings with are not markup are known as content.

Processor and its application

Processor simply analyses the markup text and delivers to the application this structured information. Specifications actually places the requirement to the XML processor, thus coordination the work of the processor by directing it what to do and what not to do. The application is outside the scope of the specifications but is coordinated by processor. Thus due to this feature of the XML processor it is considered as XML parser.


Markup construction begins with ‘<’ character and ends with ‘>’character. Tagging within this markup text have three types that is start tags coded as <text>, end tag coded as</text> and at last the empty tag coded as <text/>.


The element is the most logical component. It begins with start tags, and then finally ends with matched end-tags. It may consist of only empty element tags. The characters in between start tags and the end-tags, are called element’s content. It may contain the markup and other elements, collectively known as child elements.


In XML, attributes are a part of element which helps in providing additional regarding that element. Thus attributes can be imagined as adjectives defining the elements present with it. Attributes as two fields name and value, which always occurs simultaneously. The name field declares the object and value field defines the nature of the object.  They are two types of attributes one is mandatory and the other is optional.

XML simplified - understanding the structure

XML Declaration

Every XML document begins with XML Declaration, thus helping us in knowing the version name of the document.


XML can be used to store data inside html document, and this keeps data separated from html document and hence is helpful in using the html for formatting and display

It can create data that can be read by different application and hence reduce complexity.

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