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We’ve covered a lot of ground in this first step toward XML mastery. You should now be able to look at an XML document and make sense of what you see—mainly elements and attributes, with perhaps a prolog and comment thrown into the mix. We’ve also examined SVG, a popular vocabulary for drawing scalable graphics. Our stroll through SVG took us into the realm of declarative programming as we expanded our horizons and explored more XML, including entities, DTDs, and CDATA.

Along the way, we’ve sampled some interesting XML vocabularies. In experimenting with RSS and SVG, we’ve learned some major parts of an XML document:

  • Elements and attributes are the two most important aspects of XML for storing data.
  • The XML prolog is optional, but first in the code if present.
  • DTDs are used for document structure and to define substitution entities.
  • Comments in code are always a good thing.
  • CDATA sections are used for including data that we want to keep from confusing the parser, which often means program code of some form or other.

In the next article, we’ll move on to Step 2 and examine how to leverage the power of XML for web-based displays.

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