Chapter 20. Visual Basic 2008 and XML

Put simply, Extensible Markup Language (XML) is used for exchanging data between applications. Although it has been around for some time, XML has established itself as the de facto data exchange standard for Internet applications. Today, XML is used not only on the Internet but to exchange data between many different platforms and applications.

In this chapter, you are not going to get bogged down in the details regarding XML such as its validation and well-formedness. Instead, you get a general introduction to XML, and then you look at its role with Visual Basic 2008. After that, you focus on using XML inside an application.

In this chapter, you:

  • Gain a deeper understanding of XML and what it looks like

  • Learn how to read and write XML files

  • Learn how to serialize and deserialize XML data

  • Learn how to navigate through an XML document

  • Learn how to change existing XML data and add new data to an XML document

Understanding XML

The need for XML is simple: In commercial environments, applications need to exchange information in order to integrate. This integration is more applicable to the line-of-business software that a company may have rather than to desktop productivity applications such as Microsoft Office. For example, a company may have invested in a piece of software that allows it to track the stock in its warehouse — that piece of software would be an example of line-of-business software.

Integration has traditionally been very difficult to do, and ...

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