The Goals of XML

Before you can fully understand and appreciate what XML introduces into the application integration equations, we must take a moment to talk about the initial goals behind creating the language. The original XML Working Group at the W3C was formed out of the SGML Editorial Review Board, and it made 10 design goals while creating the XML language. According to the XML 1.0 Recommendation (), these were as follows:

  1. XML shall be straightforwardly usable over the Internet.
  2. XML shall support a wide variety of applications.
  3. XML shall be compatible with SGML.
  4. It shall be easy to write programs which process XML documents.
  5. The number of optional features in XML is to be kept to the absolute minimum, ideally zero.
  6. XML documents should be human-legible and reasonably clear.
  7. The XML design should be prepared quickly.
  8. The design of XML shall be formal and concise.
  9. XML documents shall be easy to create.
  10. Terseness in XML markup is of minimal importance.

You should be exposed to these items because they lay the foundation for the design and objectives of the language. If you plan on using XML, you should make sure your objectives are in line with these design goals. Failure to do so could result in using XML for a purpose outside the bounds of the language, and therefore create a limiting implementation.