As the Internet continues to evolve, XML is playing an increasingly important role. It is often referred to as the de facto language of the Internet and indeed is worthy of this title. It seems as though everywhere you turn, XML is there. Perhaps XML’s most appealing feature is its simplicity. After all, it’s a plain-text format that does nothing more than describe data. What could be simpler?
This chapter is divided into two main themes, working with XML and using Web Distributed Data Exchange, or WDDX as it’s commonly referred to. We’re going to cover a lot of ground fairly quickly. As simple as the concept of XML is, working with it in a meaningful way is often anything but. Luckily, ColdFusion makes the tasks you are likely to encounter—creating, parsing, searching, and transforming XML—far easier than any other language I know of. As we’ve come to expect from ColdFusion, what are often high-level programming tasks in other languages are cleverly abstracted in ColdFusion. This does not mean they are any less powerful, just that ColdFusion makes them easier to implement. And as you know, in programming, easier to implement tends to mean faster to accomplish.