19.2. XML Explained

The basic premise of XML is fairly simple, although the possible implementations of it (and the numerous extensions to it) can get quite complex. XML is designed as an all-purpose format for organizing data. In many cases, when you decide to use XML, you're deciding to store data in a standardized way, rather than creating your own new (and to other developers, unfamiliar) format conventions. The actual location of this data—in memory, in a file, in a network stream—is irrelevant.

The best way to understand the role XML plays is to consider the evolution of a simple file format without XML. For example, consider a simple program that stores product items as a list in a file. Say when you first create this program, you decide ...

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