XML in The Real World

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XML in The Real World

XML in Practice

Content Management

Almost all of the leading content management systems use XML in one way or another. A typical use would be to store a company's marketing content in one or more XML documents. These XML documents could then be transformed for output on the Web, as Word documents, as PowerPoint slides, in plain text, and even in audio format. The content can also easily be shared with partners who can then output the content in their own formats.

Storing the content in XML makes it much easier to manage content for two reasons.

  1. Content changes, additions, and deletions are made in a central location and the changes will cascade out to all formats of presentation. There is no need to be concerned about keeping the Word documents in sync with the website, because the content itself is managed in one place and then transformed for each output medium.
  2. Formatting changes are made in a central location. To illustrate, suppose a company had many marketing web pages, all of which were produced from XML content being transformed to HTML. The format for all of these pages could be controlled from a single XSLT (to be discussed later in the course) and a sitewide formatting change could be made modifying that XSLT.

Web Services

XML Web services are small applications or pieces of applications that are made accessible on the Internet using open standards based on XML. Web services generally consist of three components:

  • SOAP - an XML-based protocol used to transfer Web services over the Internet.
  • WSDL (Web Services Description Language) - an XML-based language for describing a Web service and how to call it.
  • Universal Discovery Description and Integration (UDDI) - the yellow pages of Web services. UDDI directory entries are XML documents that describe the Web services a group offers. This is how people find available Web services.

RDF / RSS Feeds

RDF (Resource Description Framework) is a framework for writing XML-based languages to describe information on the Web (e.g, web pages). RSS (RDF Site Summary) is an implementation of this framework; it is a language that adheres to RDF and is used to describe web content. Website publishers can use RSS to make content available as a "feed", so that web users can access some of their content without actually visiting their site. Often, RSS is used to provide summaries with links to the company's website for additional information.