XML is one of a family of web standards for data description, validation, manipulation, and interchange. It enables the construction of application-specific data languages, which can be handled by generic tools. Its other main benefits are its platform independence, self-describing structure, and human readability. All the big relational database vendors are adding XML support to their databases – and their confidence in XML as a maturing data standard is strengthening. Microsoft's commitment to XML extends beyond the database to include application and presentation layers, particularly in .NET. The nascent field of web services will depend on the effective interface between relational databases and the XML messages that link them.
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