HTML Vs XML: Difference Between HTML and XML [2022]

HTML’s full form is Hypertext Markup Language, while XML is an Extensible Markup Language. The purpose of HTML is to display data and focus on how the data looks. Therefore, HTML describes a web page’s structure and displays information, whereas XML structures, stores, and transfers information and describes what the data is. 

In this article, HTML and XML shall be discussed in detail to understand the differences between them.

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What is HTML?

Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) is a programming language that displays data and describes a web page’s structure. Hypertext facilitates browsing the web by referring to the hyperlinks an HTML page contains. The hyperlink enables one to go to any place on the internet by clicking it. There is no set order to do so.

Markup language points out to the way tags are used in defining the page layout and the elements within the page. It consists of various HTML elements comprising tags and their content. HTML language enables the creation of links of documents, is static, and can ignore small errors. In HTML, closing tags are not necessary. It can be defined as a markup language that makes the text more dynamic and interactive.

HTML is a computer language used to create websites that can be viewed by anyone with internet access. The tags are the words between the <angle brackets> and separate standard text from HTML code. These are displayed on webpages in the form of images, tables, diagrams, and so on.

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The tags are not displayed on the webpages but affect the appearance of data on webpages. Different types of tags perform different functions. The most straightforward tags will apply the formatting to some text, such as the example given below:

To make <b> bold, text</b> the text on the web page will be displayed in bold. Similarly, to make <i> italic, text</i> will be displayed in italic.   

In this example, tags are wrapped around some text, which results in the contained text being displayed in bold and italics formats when viewed in a web browser. Similarly, different kinds of tags perform different functions, which can be seen when the web page is displayed. Learning different tags enables the creation of HTML pages.

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What is XML?

Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a programming language created by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). XML facilitates encoding documents, defined by a set of rules, in a format that can be read by both humans and machines. By using tags, XML defines the document structure, how it should be stored and transported. It enables the creation of web applications and web pages and is a dynamic language that transports data. It’s often used as the basis for many other document formats, some of which are as follows.

  • ATOM and RSS describe how reader apps handle web feeds.
  • Microsoft.NET uses XML for its configuration files.
  • XML is the basis for document structure in Microsoft Office 2007 and later versions. This is what X stands for in .DOCX word document format and is also used in PowerPoint (.PPTX files) and (.XLSX) Excel files.

XML is in a textual data format and focuses on generality, simplicity, and usability across the internet. It is used for representing arbitrary data structures in web services.

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HTML Advantages

  • HTML helps build a website’s structure and various other advantages, such as Easy to learn and use.
  • Supported by all browsers.
  • Being plain text, it is simple to edit.
  • Easy to integrate with other languages.
  • Lightweight
  • HTML is the basis of all programming languages.
  • The text being compressible, it is fast to download.

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HTML Disadvantages

  • Can create only plain and static pages.
  • A lot of code is required to be written to make a simple webpage.
  • HTML security features aren’t very good.
  • Complex to write long code for making webpages.
  • Takes a lot of time to create a webpage.
  • All web pages need to be edited separately; not centralized

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XML Advantages

  • XML is extendable.
  • Can be read and understood by all.
  • Completely portable and also compatible with JAVA.
  • XML is a platform-independent programming language; hence can be used by any system.
  • XML supports Unicode
  • Using XML, data can be stored and transported at any point in time without affecting data presentation.
  • XML document is free of any syntax error.
  • Data sharing between various systems is simplified using XML.  

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XML Disadvantages

  • Compared to other text-based formats, XML is redundant and verbose.
  • When data volume is large, it results in high storage and transportation cost due to redundancy in XML syntax.
  • Compared to other text-based formats, XML is less readable.
  • Due to its lengthy nature, the XML file size is very large.
  • XML does not support an array.

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HTML vs XML: Key Differences

In a nutshell, the following table summarises some vital differences between HTML and XML.

Is a markup language. Is a standard markup language that defines other markup languages.
Is not case sensitive. Is case sensitive.
Doubles up as a presentation language. Is not a presentation language nor a programming language.
Has its own predefined tags. Tags are defined as per the need of the programmer. XML is flexible as tags can be defined when needed.
Closing tags are not necessarily needed. Closing tags are used mandatorily.
White spaces are not preserved. Capable of preserving white spaces.
Showcases the design of a web page in the way it is displayed on client-side. Enables transportation of data from database and related applications.
Used for displaying data. Used for transferring data.
Static in nature. Dynamic in nature.
Offers native support. With the help of elements and attributes, objects are expressed by conventions.
Null value is natively recognised. Xsi:nil on elements is needed in an XML instance document.
Extra application code is not needed to parse text. XML DOM application and implementation code is needed to map text back into JavaScript objects.

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HTML and XML are related to each other, where HTML displays data and describes the structure of a webpage, whereas XML stores and transfers data. HTML is a simple predefined language, while XML is a standard language that defines other languages. 

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