java data matrix barcode reader The XML Language in Java

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The XML Language
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When we speak of XML as a language, bear in mind that we use it in the context that XML is a vocabulary of description. Your initial perception may be that you would use the language as a method of communication, and that is partly true. XML is what is generally referred to as a markup language, in that it describes (or marks up) embedded or referenced data. We ll explore that concept in a moment, but first some context. XML is relatively new in the technology timeline. It is the child of former markup languages, beginning with IBM s GML: Generalized Markup Language (GML) was developed in the late 1960s as a markup technology by IBM. It s generally accepted as the forefather of XML, wherein the concept of document structure is dictated by distinct structural elements. Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) built on the advances of GML and introduced a key innovation to the markup world: document structure validation. During the mid-1970s throughout the 1980s, SGML became quite popular as the document structure of choice for numerous industries. Most notably, the US Army required that all contractors submit their documentation in SGML format only. While the markup language is quite powerful, it is also extremely difficult to manipulate.
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CHAPTER 2 s UNDERSTANDING XML
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Extensible Markup Language (XML) was the next step. As the Internet began to grow in popularity as well as complexity, it became apparent that HTML (also a child of SGML) was limited in document processing. A great need began to emerge, necessitating the introduction of a standardized methodology for describing structured data that was not only extensible, but also easy to implement. The answer came from XML in late 1996.
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XML Structure
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So now you know where XML came from. But what exactly does XML do Well, as I said earlier, XML is a method of document description. For instance, let s suppose that my company has sent your company the following file: wrench 13.85 101 1 3 socket 2.99 299 4 2 This information is virtually useless to your business processes without some form of description. This is where XML steps in to aid our communication. Add some descriptive elements to the file, and you ll find that the document is something that can be used intelligently: <products> <product> <name>wrench</name> <price>13.85</price> <id>101</id> <quantityonhand>1</quantityonhand> <quantityonorder>3</quantityonorder> </product> <product> <name>socket</name> <price>2.99</price> <id>299</id> <quantityonhand>4</quantityonhand> <quantityonorder>2</quantityonorder> </product> </products> Even without an in-depth knowledge of XML coding, you can get a feel for what the document is trying to convey in terms of content and structure. And that leads to the next logical step in our discussion: basic syntax.
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CHAPTER 2 s UNDERSTANDING XML
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Basic XML Syntax
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When we talk about basic syntax, we re really referring to the simple rules that you should follow to maintain a well-formed XML file. Most companies that accept XML messages will turn away malformed documents, and so a strict adherence to the rules becomes essential when dealing with XML structure. The core concept of XML is that all messages are built with elements. As you can see in the previous XML example, it includes descriptive tags that suggest the purpose of the data within its boundaries: <products>, <product>, <name>, <price>, and so on. We refer to these tags as elements. Our list of syntax requirements begins with a rule about including elements.
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Elements Must Open and Close
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When you open an element by declaring <product>, you ll need to have a corresponding closing element. The closing element simply prefixes the element name with a slash: </product>. The opening and closing elements will surround the embedded data, like this: <name>wrench</name> This example declares an element that will hold data for a field called name. The embedded data, wrench, is attributed to the element name. So what if you have an element with no data, which is quite possible with data processing Instead of using <product></product>, you could choose to use a single element: <product />. You add the slash to the tail end of the opening element, and it will consequently close that element, indicating to any outside processing that this particular piece is empty.
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