What is XML? Why is it Important?

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XML is a modified version of the Standard Generalized Markup Language.It finds valuable application in sectors such as medicine, banking, and e-publishing.

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What is XML? Why is it Important?

  1. 1. What is XML? Why is it Important? Extensible Markup Language (XML), the simplified version of SGML, is a method used for data structuring and storage. It facilitates sharing of data across the internet. The main advantage of this markup language is its portability across any operating system, program, or hardware. XML is of great significance in present times, and finds application in sectors such as medicine, banking, and e-publishing. Litigation documents, purchase orders, and e-commerce ordering are among the other application areas. Importance of XML The advantages offered by XML reveal its importance. Key advantages include:       Easy to read and understand Facilitates the comparison and aggregation of data Can embed multiple data types Rapid adoption by industry Can be opened in any text editor Extensible and versatile Supports all world languages Application of XML in Healthcare The healthcare sector has accepted XML as a standard format for data representation, data presentation, and data exchange. This flexible format has encouraged the transition from paper-based health records to electronic health records. Smooth access of data, and easy retrieval and modification of files are possible when data is stored electronically. In any system, it is necessary to maintain records in a single, standardized format. Sometimes it becomes necessary to convert health records from one format to another before storage. For example, if the duty doctor transfers his prescripts to the pharmacist in Word document format, further processing requires the file to be converted to XML format. DOC to XML conversion can be done with the help of application software, specially designed for the purpose.
  2. 2. Healthcare entities also need to process forms related to Medicare, Medicaid and other health insurance benefits. XML conversion services are available for the conversion of files from XML format to PDF or DBF. In XML conversion, fixed length fields and records, comma separated values, semi-structured data, de-limited fields and records are converted to the required size and format. Application of XML in E-Publishing XML has very much to do in e-publishing, where books, manuscripts, journals, magazines and other documents are published through websites. Soft copies, handwritten manuscripts, scanned images, pre-printed books, and PDF files are converted to XML format for fast processing. Inputs that are available in non-editable format are first converted to soft copies using data conversion methods. This soft copy is then converted into XML format, according to the instructions given by the client. The main reason behind such kind of conversion in e-publishing is that it enables publishing with the help of style sheet language such as Cascade Style Sheet and Extensible Style Sheet. XML conversion can be done either in-house or by outsourcing to a service provider. Outsourcing is often the better option, as it eliminates the overheads associated with work management and employee hiring and also saves valuable time and effort.

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