educational

XML For Christmas

Rich Rutherford
With Halloween costumes being put away and Thanksgiving decorations going up, there is a clear reminder that Christmas is approaching, and fast. You start to think of all the presents you need to buy and the additional expenses that will be wiping your wallet clean. This is right when adult webmastering seems to be an attractive endeavor. The money is good and your knowledge of HTML allows you to build the web site and maintain it. And voila’, your Christmas spirit is in full bloom because your money problems are solved.

That is if you believe the myth. First of all, being an adult webmaster is not an easy way out, as it’s going to take a lot more than HTML knowledge to make some money – namely, business savvy. Secondly, being adept in HTML only gets you so far.

HTML is confining and if you want to keep up with the rest of the developers out there, you better start thinking beyond the sphere of HTML and into the hands of XML. Extensible Markup Language – or XML – overcomes the limitations of SGML and HTML, the two markup languages that preceded the almighty XML.

XML is a simple, flexible text format that was born out of the need to define a markup language with the power and extensibility of SGML yet possessed the simplicity of HTML. So the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) sponsored an XML Working Group to toil over this new endeavor and on February 10, 1998, the W3C approved Version 1.0 of the XML specification.

Now, we are no longer constrained by the dependence on a single, inflexible and much abused document type – HTML – that was being utilized in ways it was never intended in the hopes of disseminating data. And XML moves us away from the complexity of full SGML, whose syntax is powerful and more difficult to implement than the more flexible and streamlined format of XML.

So what does XML give you that HTML doesn’t?

  • Global reach - access trading partners worldwide.
  • Marketing capability - integrates marketing with commerce.
  • Multi-to-multi transactions - negotiate/trade with many trading partners at the same time.
  • Start at the desktop - work end to end.
  • Low-cost installations - can be as simple as adding browsers.
  • Lower-cost integration with XML.
  • Integration with vertical marketplaces/content services.

XML offers a standardized way to describe and work with data. It allows you to create XML vocabularies that are customized for describing their own particular data structures. For instance, if you are writing software for a video store, a movie star attribute might come in handy when describing certain elements that can be used when describing the movie.

Once developers harness the power of XML to describe their data, they can easily interoperate with any other system that also understands XML. Likewise, developers can integrate data from any other system as long as it's also described as using XML. A developer who leverages XML no longer needs to worry about platform, operating system, language, or data store differences when communicating with other systems. XML becomes the least common denominator for system interoperability.

At Sex.Com, we share hundreds of XML feeds with our partners and affiliates, as it allows us to uniquely monitor their traffic. Thanks to XML, we can parse a large volume of traffic, and all the while generate revenue for all parties.

In a nutshell, XML allows advertisers and webmasters alike the ability to monetize their online traffic and other data by communicating through a common language that can be adapted by many, while remaining flexible to the specific needs of the user.

Remember, if you’re setting out to develop your adult site, make sure XML is a part of your vocabulary, or at least on your Christmas list.

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