XML Technical Interview Questions

 What is XML?

In the shorted terms, XML is a type of markup language. XML stands for EXtensible Markup Language. The benefit of XML is that it defines a set of rules for encoding documents in a format that is both human-readable and machine-readable. It is a W3C Recommendation, which basically means that it is recommended by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which is the main international standards organization for the World Wide Web.

XML is quite similar to HTML in nature, and was designed to store and transport data, while also being designed to be self-descriptive. XML is designed for simplicity and generality, as well as for usability across the Internet.

RSS, Atom, SOAP, SVG, and XHTML have all been developed using XML syntax, which has also become the standard for many office-productivity tools, including Microsoft Office (Office Open XML), OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice (OpenDocument), and Apple's iWork.

What is a markup language?

A markup language is a type of computer language that is primarily used for the processing, definition and presentation of text. Basically, it tries to define to the computer how it should process, define, and show the text.

The language is typically used in a text file and specifies the code for formatting both the layout and style, via the use of tags. These tags, such as <bold>, <underline>, etc. indicate to the browser that the text marked by it should be displayed as such.

A markup language can also be used for transporting and storing data.

HTML, XML, and XHTML are some of the most common and popular examples of a markup language.

What are some of the features of XML?

There is a reason why XML is one of the most popular types of markup languages. Some of its features include:

  • Easy to learn
  • Easy to implement
  • Both human-readable and machine-readable
  • XML files are text files
  • Does not require an editor
  • Is minimal
  • Has a limited number of syntax rules
  • Is extensible
  • Specifies that structural rules of tags
  • Has free open standards
What are the benefits of XML?

Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a popular markup language. It gained this popularity due to the various benefits it offers over other markup languages. These include:

  • Simplicity: XML is very easy to read. It is also easy to understand the information coded in XML.
  • Openness: XML is a W3C standard. Basically, it is defined by the W3C's standards and several other related free open standards.
  • Extensibility: XML is extensible because it has no fixed set of tags. The tags can be defined as needed, making it open for extensible use.
  • Self-descriptive: XML documents are self-descriptive as they do not need special schema set-up like traditional databases to store data. They can be stored without such definitions, because they contain metadata in the form of tags and attributes.
  • Scalable: XML is not in binary format; hence ones can create and edit files with anything. XML is also very easy to debug.
  • Fast access: XML documents are arranged in hierarchical form and hence can be accessed comparatively faster.
What is the difference between XML and HTML?

XML and HTML are two different types of markup languages. While they make look similar at first glance, in reality they have quite a few differences between them.

XML

HTML

Is a markup language itself

Provides a framework to define markup languages.

Primarily used to store data

Primarily used to display data

Is primarily used to store and transport data

Is primarily used for designing webpages

Focuses on what data is

Focuses on how data looks

Is case sensitive

Is not case sensitive

Is dynamic in nature

Is static in nature

Is extensible, i.e. can create new tags

Cannot create new tags. Had standard predefined tags.

Preserves white spaces

Does not preserve white spaces

Is neither a presentation language nor a programming language

Is a presentation language

Which tag is used to find the version of XML and the syntax?

While using XML, it is often very important for each XML document and platform to define which XML version it is running in. This allows a person to know which version it is and what standard it follows. Hence, it can be defined and utilized appropriately.

In order to find the version of XML and the syntax, one must use the following tag:

< !--?xml version=”1.1” encoding=”|ISO-8859-1|”?-- >

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