Web Infrastructure  «Prev 

XML Considerations

The following page describes the limitations of html . HTML Limitations HTML is the standard content language of the Web. HTML has its limitations, however. HTML consists of a fixed set of potential tags, which describe the type of content for a browser so that the browser can interpret and display the content. This limits the types of content available to end-users and its general use. XML, short for eXtensible markup language, may well be the next generation standard for Web content, because XML offers a far more flexible approach than HTML. Rather than depend on a fixed set of content describing tags (HTML), XML enables content generators to define their own content formats.
Why is this important? Because it means that XML not only supports an extended set of content for Web page presentation, but also makes exchanging data quite simple. In the past, a manufacturer who wanted to exchange information with a supplier had to agree on the content format ahead of time. With XML, content, as well as objects, protocols, and error handling, can be defined and interpreted dynamically.
This simplicity and consistency will benefit Web publishers as well as Web surfers. In fact, the next version of HTML (dubbed xHTML) attempts to combine the rigor of XML syntax and the ubiquity of the markup language. This will make the creation and viewing of Web pages easier all around.

Browsers that support XML

As of the writing of this course, only one version of one major commercial browser (Microsoft's Internet Explorer version 5) supports XML content. Therefore, if you design an eBusiness solution that delivers its content to end-users in XML, only those users with supporting browsers can actually use your system.

XML Web Services

Sophisticated Analyses of Web Phenomenon

We are starting to see more sophisticated analyses of the Web phenomenon and the role that XML may play in its evolution. To understand where the Web is going, we not only need to understand the technologies that define it, but also to understand how they have interacted with one another and with the social and economic system to produce something very much greater than the sum of the technological parts.
In this view, the Web was not designed and is evolving in ways not foreseen by the inventors of the technologies out of which it emerged. No visionary drew a picture of what we have today and proselytized until it became a reality, and no committee laid out requirements for the Web and reviewed designs to achieve it. Instead, its features are the emergent properties that appeared when TCP/IP and HTTP produced a reasonably reliable universal network and the simple but powerful HTML (and later XML) markup languages became almost universally supported in browsers and authoring tools.
This is not to downplay the role of good engineering in the success of the many great products that define its individual components, such as IP routers, HTTP servers, and HTML/XML browsers and editors. The principles of sound engineering are the same as those that contribute to evolutionary survival.
Simplicity, modularity, ease of use, low cost of ownership, etc. Conversely, if it's hard to understand, it will be hard to build; if it's hard to build, it will break; if it breaks, it won't survive. Nevertheless, to understand how the "Web" as we know it emerged from the separate components, and to predict how it will evolve in the future, a higher-level, less technology-driven perspective is necessary.