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XML vs. HTML: Know the Difference

Hifza Nasir
By Hifza Nasir & Shumaila Saeed || Published on March 17, 2024
XML structures data with custom tags for easy parsing and interchange, while HTML predefines tags to display web content in browsers.
XML vs. HTML

Key Differences

XML (eXtensible Markup Language) is designed to store and transport data, providing a flexible way to create information formats with a structured hierarchy of elements. Its self-descriptive nature allows both humans and machines to understand the data. HTML (HyperText Markup Language), on the other hand, is intended for displaying data in web browsers, using predefined tags to format text, images, and other content for web pages.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 17, 2024
XML's tag names are not predefined; users define their own tags tailored to their needs, making it highly adaptable for various types of data representation. HTML has a specific set of tags understood by web browsers, such as <p> for paragraphs and <img> for images, limiting its use to document presentation rather than data storage.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 17, 2024
XML focuses on the structure and transport of data, HTML emphasizes the presentation and layout of web content. XML files often require a stylesheet, such as XSLT, to be formatted for human reading, whereas HTML documents are inherently designed to be rendered by web browsers.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 17, 2024
XML is strict about document syntax; documents must be well-formed and, optionally, valid against a DTD or XML Schema. HTML, particularly in its modern versions like HTML5, is more forgiving of errors, with browsers able to render HTML pages even with minor syntactical mistakes.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Mar 17, 2024
Both languages are integral to the web and data interchange: XML provides a versatile method for structured data interchange between systems, while HTML is crucial for structuring and presenting content on the World Wide Web.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 17, 2024
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Comparison Chart

Purpose

Data storage and transport
Web content presentation
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 17, 2024

Tag Names

Custom-defined
Predefined
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 17, 2024

Focus

Data structure and interchange
Data presentation and layout
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 17, 2024

Styling

Requires external stylesheets (e.g., XSLT)
Styled with CSS
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 17, 2024

Syntax Strictness

Very strict (must be well-formed)
Relatively forgiving
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 17, 2024
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Validation

Can be validated against DTD or Schema
Typically validated against W3C standards
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 17, 2024

XML and HTML Definitions

XML

Ideal for data interchange.
XML files are often used for configuration settings and data exchange between systems.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Feb 26, 2024

HTML

Predefined tags for content formatting.
<h1>Heading</h1> defines a top-level heading on a web page.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Feb 26, 2024

XML

Custom tags for specific data needs.
<employee><name>John Doe</name></employee> for employee data.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Feb 26, 2024

HTML

Designed for web browsers.
HTML documents are rendered by web browsers to display web content.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Feb 26, 2024
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XML

Strict syntax for data integrity.
Every open tag in XML must be properly closed for the document to be well-formed.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Feb 26, 2024

HTML

Includes multimedia integration.
<img src=image.jpg> displays an image.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Feb 26, 2024

XML

Extensible and adaptable.
XML allows the creation of new tags as data requirements evolve.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Feb 26, 2024

HTML

The standard language for creating web pages.
<p>This is a paragraph.</p> displays a text paragraph.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 26, 2024

XML

A flexible data representation format.
<book><title>XML Guide</title></book> defines a book element with a title.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 26, 2024

HTML

Supports linking to other documents.
<a href=page.html>Next Page</a> creates a link to another web page.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Feb 26, 2024

HTML

A markup language used to structure text and multimedia documents and to set up hypertext links between documents, used extensively on the World Wide Web.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Jan 25, 2024

Repeatedly Asked Queries

Is HTML a subset of XML?

No, HTML is not a subset of XML. HTML is a markup language for web pages, while XML is a data representation language.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 17, 2024

Why is XML strict about document structure?

XML's strictness ensures data integrity and reliability in data exchange and storage.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 17, 2024

Can HTML use custom tags like XML?

HTML5 allows custom data attributes prefixed with data-, but it doesn't support truly custom tags like XML.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 17, 2024

What makes XML ideal for data interchange?

XML's flexibility in defining custom tags and its strict syntax make it reliable for structured data interchange between systems.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Mar 17, 2024

Why is HTML more popular for web content than XML?

HTML is specifically designed for web content presentation with support for styling, multimedia, and user interaction, making it more suitable for web pages.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 17, 2024

What are XHTML and its relation to XML and HTML?

XHTML is a reformulation of HTML as an XML application, combining HTML's features with XML's strict syntax.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 17, 2024

How do namespaces in XML differ from HTML?

XML namespaces allow for the use of the same tag name from different vocabularies without conflict, a feature not inherent in HTML.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Mar 17, 2024

Can XML be used for displaying web content like HTML?

XML itself does not display content; it requires a stylesheet (e.g., XSLT) for presentation in browsers.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 17, 2024

How do CSS and XML interact?

CSS can style XML data when combined with a stylesheet language like XSLT to transform XML into HTML or another XML document.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 17, 2024

How do browsers handle XML files?

Browsers can display XML files as a document tree but typically require XSLT to format them for human reading.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 17, 2024

Can XML and HTML be used together?

Yes, XML data can be embedded in HTML pages or transformed into HTML using XSLT for web presentation.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Mar 17, 2024

Are there any compatibility issues between XML and HTML?

When embedding XML in HTML, namespaces and proper encoding must be used to avoid conflicts and ensure correct parsing.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Mar 17, 2024

What role does XML play in web services and APIs?

XML is commonly used in web services and APIs for exchanging data between different systems, notably in SOAP-based services.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 17, 2024

Can XML be used for storing images like HTML?

XML does not embed binary data like images directly but can reference images or include them as encoded text, unlike HTML which can directly embed images with tags.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Mar 17, 2024

How does XML handle data encoding?

XML supports various character encodings and requires documents to specify their encoding for proper interpretation.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 17, 2024

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About Author
Hifza Nasir
Written by
Hifza Nasir
Shumaila Saeed
Co-written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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