XML stands for Extensible Markup Language. It is a text-based markup language derived from Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML).
XML tags identify the data and are used to store and organize the data, rather than specifying how to display it like HTML tags, which are used to display the data. XML is not going to replace HTML in the near future, but it introduces new possibilities by adopting many successful features of HTML.
There are three important characteristics of XML that make it useful in a variety of systems and solutions −
XML is extensible − XML allows you to create your own self-descriptive tags, or language, that suits your application.
XML carries the data, does not present it − XML allows you to store the data irrespective of how it will be presented.
XML is a public standard − XML was developed by an organization called the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and is available as an open standard.
A shortlist of XML usage says it all −
XML can work behind the scene to simplify the creation of HTML documents for large web sites.
XML can be used to exchange information between organizations and systems.
XML can be used for offloading and reloading of databases.
XML can be used to store and arrange the data, which can customize your data handling needs.
XML can easily be merged with style sheets to create almost any desired output.
Virtually, any type of data can be expressed as an XML document.
Platform Independent and Language-Independent: The main benefit of XML is that you can use it to take data from a program like Microsoft SQL, convert it into XML then share that XML with other programs and platforms. You can communicate between two platforms which are generally very difficult.
The main thing which makes XML truly powerful is its international acceptance. Many corporations use XML interfaces for databases, programming, office application mobile phones, and more. It is due to its platform-independent feature.