Understanding XML – Part IV(Basic Schema Of A DTD)

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In this article

In this article, I’m going to wrap up my pondering on XML. We’ll explore the basic schema of a DTD, and the future of XML. Let’s recall some basic features of XML…

  • XML can keep data separated from your HTML
  • XML can be used to store data inside your HTML documents
  • XML can be used as a format to exchange information
  • XML can be used to store data in files or in databases

The power and beauty of XML is that it maintains the separation of the user interface from structured data, allowing the seamless integration of data from diverse sources. Customer information, purchase orders, research results, bill payments, medical records, catalog data, and other information can be converted to XML on the middle tier, allowing data to be exchanged online as easily as HTML pages display data today.

Data encoded in XML can then be delivered over the Web to the desktop. No retrofitting is necessary for legacy information stored in mainframe databases or documents, and because HTTP is used to deliver XML over the wire, no changes are required for this function.

Once the data is on the client desktop, it can be manipulated, edited, and presented in multiple views, without return trips to the server. Servers now become more scalable, due to lower computational and bandwidth loads. Also, since data is exchanged in the XML format, it can be easily merged from different sources – ok, this is the aspect that personally interests me.

The portability of data. Database programmers all over the world face unlimited problems while tackling with data of multifarious formats. If formats cease to matter, anybody, anywhere, on whichever machine, can view and manipulate the data.

From the previous article, XML, unlike HTML, does not have proprietary tags. We can go on a wild trip
and define our own tags, according to the necessity.

Before you get the time to come to grips with the gory XML introduction, I present a more evolved version of an imaginary schema of a data structure that can be represented through an XML document.

my-schedule (date +)> morning-to-mid-noon, mid-noon-to-evening)> morning-to-noon (XML tutorial)> (XML-Introduction, XML-Example, XML-Conclusion, XML-Email)> (#PCDATA)> XML-Email (#PCDATA)> (nothing-important)> ]>

4/17/2001
Telling what exactly XML
means Some Examples of
XML Some concluding
text Email the XML
Article
Have something light to
eat and laze around
Work on a client’s web site

………… 4/18/2001

The above is a comprehensive example of a DTD – Document Type Definition. XML provides an application-independent way of sharing data. With a DTD, independent groups of people can use a common DTD for interchanging data. Your application can use a standard DTD to verify that the data you receive from the outside world is valid. You can also use a DTD to verify your own data.

In this example, the data structure is well defined. Each parent node has a child node, and some child nodes have grand-child nodes and so on.

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