Documents are saved in various formats.

Some constitute ordinary text files with the extension .doc or .docx, others are spreadsheets with the .xlsx record, there are also files with the .pptx extension opening the Power Point presentation program.

Another type of writing – XML ​​- is very important for many companies operating on the web. What can such a file do? What does it do? Is it really necessary in the online world?

What is XML?

XML is the abbreviation of Extensible Markup Language. After all, these are just plain text files, and XML is nothing but a markup language that is designed to define the document coding syntax. Such a text file should be readable for both the computer and the people. The whole process takes place through the use of tags defining the structure of the document, but also through the manner of its storage and transmission.

To better illustrate the XML file, it’s easiest to compare it with the popular Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), which is used to code web pages. The main difference between the two languages ​​is that XML can be extended because there is no predefined markup language (as in HTML). Users can create their own symbols that will describe the content. In this way XML becomes an unlimited language.

The difference can be reduced to the fact that HTML is primarily used to present content on the web, while the task of XML is mainly to describe the data that is stored afterwards.

How to open an XML file?

XML is a text file and quite a lot of programs are suitable for opening it. XML files can be opened and edited basically with any text editor. What’s more, the file saved in .xml format can be viewed using any web browser. You can also use pages that not only allow you to view the file, but also allow you to edit it or convert it to other formats.

Notepad ++

However, if you regularly work with XML files, it is worth using proven and practical programs. An excellent program for handling XML files is the easy-to-use notepad ++ text editor. The editor perfectly reads the entire file structure, underlines the syntax, and formats the file according to its purpose.

Search engine

If you do not need to edit the XML file, you can successfully use a web browser. The default web browser is also often the default XML file viewer. Therefore, the entire opening process should be as simple as double clicking the mouse. If this does not work, just right-click and select the appropriate application, in this case the web browser. This method only allows you to view the structure that you will not be able to edit. What’s more, the record in the XML program, which is notepad ++, is more eligible.

Online editor

Online editors are good if you interfere with XML files occasionally. They are also a good solution if you want to convert the file into another format. There are many online programs available on the web, which you can easily find by typing the phrase “xml file editor online” in the search engine, for example. They are simple tools that are easy to use.

XML saving and file structure

A file saved in the XML format consists of properly nested elements. Their entry takes the form of markers. The entire XML file consists of the following individual elements:

• main element – there can be one main element in one XML file,
• content of the elements – any element in the document may also contain content <title>. It is important to know that items within may have more items. The parent element can be <text>, to which “branches” <title> ora <author> are subordinated.
• Attributes – each element can have an infinite number of attributes. The attribute can refer to the date of publication, it is a plain text and cannot be nested.
• Prolog – found at the very beginning of the document and is not a mandatory element of the XML file,
• Comments – this element allows you to add comments that are usually visible only when editing the document.

There are other elements of text files, such as text entities, which allow to avoid frequently repeating text, and thus, mistakes as well.

HTML to XML – how to do it?

There are plenty of tools available on the Internet that can be successfully used to convert an HTML file to XML. In the search engine, just enter the phrase “HTML to XML” or “HTML to XML”, for example. Mostly the whole operation boils down to three steps. First, you need to load the file or enter the URL to the file, then select the appropriate conversion format (in this case XML) and press the “convert” button. It is a very fast and simple procedure.

How to print an XML file?

A good way to print an XML file is to convert it to another file (e.g. to PDF), but you might as well directly print it from notepad ++ by using the Ctrl + P shortcut or by selecting print in options. You can also use the browser in this case using the same method.

XML files are widely used. They are especially valuable when running online stores. Thanks to them, amongst others, you can easily store data and transfer it. Import of XML files facilitates warehouse management and thanks to them always data visible in the store will be always up-to-date.