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The XML FAQ — Frequently-Asked Questions about the Extensible Markup Language

Basics: general information about XML

 
Copyright © 2010 Silmaril Consultants, version 5.10 (28 April 2013)

10. Why should I use XML?

Here are a few reasons for using XML (in no particular order). Not all of these will apply to your own requirements, and you may have additional reasons not mentioned here (if so, please let the editor of the FAQ know!).

Peter Flynn writes:

tipWhy not just use Word or Notes?

Restricted proprietary data formats are unsuitable for durable public information.

Information on a network which connects many different types of computer has to be usable on all of them. Public information in particular cannot afford to be restricted to one make or model or manufacturer, or to cede control of its data format to private hands. It is also helpful for such information to be in a form that can be reused in many different ways, as this will minimize wasted time and effort. Proprietary data formats, no matter how well documented or publicized, are simply not an option: their control still resides in private hands and they can be changed or withdrawn arbitrarily without notice.

SGML is the international standard for defining this kind of application, and was therefore the natural choice for XML, but those who need an alternative based on different software for other purposes are entirely free to implement similar services using such a system, especially if they are for private use.