The XML (eXtensible Markup Language) filetype is a flexible, structured document format that has played a crucial role in the exchange of a wide variety of data on the Web and elsewhere. It was designed to store and transport data, with focus on simplicity, generality, and usability across the Internet. The development of XML started in the mid-1990s when the internet was rapidly expanding, and the need for a standard that could facilitate the sharing and display of information in a consistent manner became apparent.
How XML Works
XML files are text files that use tags to define objects and the data within each object. These tags are similar in concept to HTML, but unlike HTML, which has predefined tags, XML allows users to define their own tags, making it incredibly versatile for various industries and applications. XML files are designed to be self-descriptive; they not only contain the data but also describe the data structure.
Software That Uses XML
A multitude of software applications utilize XML for tasks like configuration (such as application settings), data exchange between websites, and office document formats (like Microsoft Office's DOCX or Excel's XLSX). Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) and data storage systems also incorporate XML to manage project files and store information.
Alternatives to XML