Understanding the Design Goals of XML

In the design phase of development of any application, you need to identify, understand and then prioritized the abilities of the application and the task which it should perform in order to meet the expectations from it.

These capabilities and expected functionality can be considered as the design goals of the application. Here we will understand the design goals of XML which also cover the fundamental of technology and the way of defining the elements and attributes of an XML document.

There are ten design goals for XML as mentioned by the W3C in XML specification. First goal of XML states that it should be used over the Internet for example in web applications, websites, e-commerce applications, web services and not as other programming languages which can be used in web services and stand-alone application as well.

Most of the goals for XML are designed keeping the shortcomings of SGML in focus. Second goal also follows this. It explains that the use of XML should not be restricted to a limited type of application but it should be used for a variety of applications. Because this motive was kept in mind while designing the XML specification, you can use XML in different platforms and for a wide variety of domains.

Third goal states that all the XML documents should follow the SGML standard or Standard Generalized Markup Language. Therefore it is necessary for an XML file to be compatible with SGML.

Next design goal emphasis on the ease of writing the programs processing the XML files. As we know that XML documents are user friendly as they are easily readable and understandable. The tags have physical meaning and thus it is easier to develop and deploy the XML documents. This benefit of XML also eases the mechanism of writing programs which are meant for the processing of XML documents.

Fifth goal says that an ideal XML document should have zero optional features. Actually its intention is to keep the number of optional features in an XML document as low as possible so that there would be less complication in the programming of application. In real world applications two commonly found optional features are DTDs and non-UTF character encodings.

Next goal aims to make XML simple. It states that XML document and its tags should be clear and meaningful and also the data in the document should be human readable. That’s why XML documents are purely text based and there is no binary data.

Seventh goal states that the XML designs preparations should take less time. It is known that XML describes the data, so it is a basic task to create XML design in an application. Therefore to improve the efficiency and usability less time should be invested in XML design creation.

After this, there is goal which emphasize XML documents to be formal and to the point. Actually it means that there is no need of extraneous details and verbosity. XML documents should be concise.

Next design goal of XML aims to make XML easier to create. According to this goal there should not be need of any tools or editors for designing of XML document. As they are text based, have human legible data and have no complicated coding, you should design them in commonly used text based editors.

Finally we will discuss the tenth goal. The main motive of XML is to be simple and human readable. Though it is better to adopt a short and concise expressive style for defining tags and other elements in XML but the terseness should not be at the cost of human legibility. For example it is better to name an element as employee_name than empname.

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