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C#® Developer's Guide to ASP.NET, XML, and ADO.NET by Chris Kinsman, Jeffrey P. McManus

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Network Data Representation

One of the two big breakthroughs that enabled the Web was HTML. HTML was an open and standards-based data-formatting language that could be used to represent the data in a document. It was not a binary format but a text-based format based on the concept of markup “tags” that were inserted into the content to provide formatting. This had been done before. The Word file format is a binary form of formatting that holds both the content and the information required to format it. It, however, is not open nor standards based. Microsoft created it and controls it.

Perhaps more important is that it is binary. The barrier to entry for a binary format is that the user typically must create a program just to read or write the ...

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