Chapter 10. Programming

XML was designed to bridge the gap between humans and computers, making data easily grappled by both. If you aren’t able to find an existing application to take care of your XML needs, you may find writing your own a good option.

XML has great possibilities for programmers. It is well suited to being read, written, and altered by software. Its syntax is straightforward and easy to parse. It has rules for being well-formed that reduce the amount of software error checking and exception handling required. It’s well documented, and there are many tools and code libraries available for developers in just about every programming language. And as an open standard accepted by financial institutions and open source hackers alike, with support from virtually every popular programming language, XML stands a good chance of becoming the lingua franca for computer communications.

We begin the chapter by examining the issues around working with XML from a developer’s point of view. From there, we move to common coding strategies and best practices. The two main methods, event streams and object trees, will be described. And finally, we visit the two reigning standards in XML programming: SAX and DOM. I will include examples in Java and Perl, my two favorite programming environments, both of which have excellent support for XML wrangling.

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