There are many advantages to using XML for information exchange, and they offer many benefits to the user. The Extensive Markup Language uses human language, which is conversable and not the language used by computers which is binary and ASCII coded. XML is readable by even people who have had no formal introduction to XML or have been coached on it.
There are other advantages of using XML.
From a programmers point of view, there are a lot of parsers available like the API, C and many more. If your data is very rich, then using XML to capture the data makes a lot of sense mainly because it is in plain text and in a language that humans can read.
XML also gives the freedom to define your own tags that fit your application needs. XML can also be stored in databases in XML format and human readable format.
The advantages of XML include that it can be used as an instrument to share data and application models in wide networks like internet.
XML uses the Common Component Architecture or CCA, and the Common Object Request Broker Architecture, or CORBA. In other words, this means that it uses a common and standard protocol which helps interoperability for programs.
It also allows RMI, or remote method invocation in Java and invokes another java object. It also allows the clients to connect to the program using the remote procedure calling, or RPC in short.
The very first advantage with using tags in XML is that XML allows you to create your own tags, and you are not limited to a standard set of tags that have to be used to program which are predetermined by program vendors.
If you use vendor declared tags in any program, there is a limitation where the browsers and other programs associated with it will have to approve it first and then get accustomed to usage, which will be quite a time consuming process. But in XML you are creating your own tags and are already accepted by other languages so this becomes a time saving process.
You can also have the freedom to develop at your own pace and moreover develop tools that will be helpful for your programming needs without a lot of investment of time or money. Here by defining your own tags you are widening your horizons.
You can make the tags work for you and develop anything the way you want it, compared to vendor declared tags where you will have to fit your programming needs to suit the tags, which is a big limitation to creativity in programming.
For example, escaping the tag limitations of HTML using XML is not even close to getting to one of its best advantages. There is a lot more to it than just being able to give your own tags in simple English.
In HTML there are common problems that a user comes across while marking up the data. However, there are three major problems that a user would come across and they are;
The Graphic User Interface, commonly known as the GUI is embedded with the data itself. The disadvantage is that if you decide on some other format rather than the specified format in the GUI, you will have to encode your entire HTML which means you might actually end up editing volumes of data and lots of pages.
The second disadvantage the user might come across is it could be a very tedious process to find information by navigating the data. Power searching is extremely difficult in HTML, and the correlation of field does not exist. Only when the data is structured can you find similar data or correlated data.
The third disadvantage is that the data uses the same logic and language that the HTML uses. If the user has the need to present the same data in some other format, like say for example in a Java applet, he will have to program that data using that individual application, or the Java applet has to parse the HTML document and string out information and reformat the whole data.
XML has advantages in all the above mentioned areas. It overcomes all the limitations that HTML has whether it is with the language or the presentation of data or the structure. XML is already known to be highly structured data which solves the problem for users when it comes to correlation or identifying similar fields.
In XML the GUI can easily be extracted, and changes can be made without disturbing the existing data in any way. If you want a table format you need to just create another style sheet with the table format ,and you don't have to erase the current data which is present in the file. You can still retain the list format if you need to and also have the table format simultaneously.
Searching the data is all the more easy in XML document because any search engine can easily parse through the data using the tags and locate the required data. It offers a freeway to navigate through data.
The XML data is structured and tree shaped depending on the way it has been formatted. Even complex relationships in the tree structure, and the parent child relationships in a directory because it is clear in its format. The codes in XML are easily legible to a first timer, and also because it is all written in simple plain text and in a human readable language.
XML has come a long way since it emerged, and it has been constantly improved and is still undergoing a lot of changes as the internet technology is growing. But one factor which puts XML in an advantageous position is that it is through the changes that it has been flexible, and has been able to fit all the growing needs and functions as needed. It has its edge when it comes to this in comparison to HTML or SGML, which have their own shortcomings.
Even though SGML has been used since the 1980s and is considered to be very powerful, it could not cope with the fast changing technologies. And also as time moved forward SGML was proving to be more expensive for its hunger for processor time and need of bigger processors. There was a desperate need for a language that was low in cost and maintenance, but would not compromise on efficiency and high level programming.
HTML was some sort of an answer for SGML's in capabilities, but not in a very satisfactory way. HTML was hands free and simple. It also had a wide acceptance. But it had defects, and it was not flexible, and changes within the programmed document was almost impossible without disturbing the data in anyway. XML provided the ultimate answer to all these capabilities.
Over the years XML has evolved into a completely functional tool which has made it easy for the internet in more than one way, and users benefit from it in thousands of aspects.
XML's efficiency and accuracy when it comes to data has a proven track record. Airlines such as Jet blue depend on XML for updating flight manuals and even flight plans because of its reliability. Business documents are usually safe, not in one location but various locations. XML can be used to integrate this data. Companies like General Motors are finding solutions in XML for their problems with data in distributed environments.
Many companies are now depending on the web services which can provide them solutions for a centralized environment for their data which needs to be safe and secure. Many applications come with a legacy and heavy price tag to pay. XML is the simplest solution a user might have imagined in solving all these complex issues.