Extensible Markup Language

What Does Extensible Markup Language Mean?

Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a universal format, maintained by the W3C, used for representation and transfer of structured data on the web or between different applications.


The language uses a structured representation by allowing users to create custom defined tags according to XML Document Type Definition (DTD) standards. The structure of an XML document can be represented in the form of a tree known as a Document Object Model (DOM).

Techopedia Explains Extensible Markup Language

XML is designed to describe data but is not concerned with the data’s visualization. The tags created in XML are self explanatory and the user is free to define their own tags — hence the “extensible.”

XML support is provided by many programming language platforms to create and process XML data. Simplicity, portability, platform independence, and usability are some of the key features that have resulted in the increasing popularity of the use of XML-based standards.

XML has been the main source of motivation for development of service oriented architecture (SOA) platforms such as web services that are not tied to any particular language and collaborate effectively in heterogeneous environments. RSS, Atom, SOAP and XHTML are some of the standards influenced by XML.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…