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Why XML?

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Usable, legible, easy to create: Ron Turner explores the origin and goals of XML, as conceived by the W3C.
This chapter is from the book

They Said It...

Through thy Idea—lo! the immortal Reality!
Through thy Reality—lo! the immortal Idea!

Walt Whitman: "As a Strong Bird on Pinions Free" (Leaves of Grass)


Extensible Markup Language (XML) did not simply emerge because it was "neat stuff." In 1996 within the Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C) decided that Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) was the best starting point for a simplified methodology of serious Internet information exchange. The company representatives were explicit in stating XML's reason for being. And the agenda for developing XML was clear. The W3C goals for XML represent a strong business case for XML, and the dominance of the Web is yet a further motivation.

The Need for XML

The title of this book might well have been Why XML? The second unit ("Core Technologies") presents a value proposition for each major piece of the XML specification. Each of these XML technologies demonstrates that it now makes sound business sense. So that makes XML worth your serious consideration.

But even before the technologies and before the release of the W3C's first draft of the specification, a large body of electronic information players not only envisioned a need for XML, they felt it. Section 1.1 of the initial draft has proven to be a consistent restatement of that need felt by the entire XML community.

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