We have access to more apps and web services than ever before, and yet somehow they all manage to work together. In this video, you’ll learn how XML is commonly used to standardize the communication between web services.
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Our modern era of mobility has allowed us access to so many different kinds of applications, and the data that these applications use somehow has to be transferred between all of these different apps. Of course, all of these applications are written in different programming languages. Some applications may be written in Swift. Others may be written in C++. Some might be written in Python.
And of course, they’re all running on different operating systems– Windows, and Linux, and Mac OS. And of course, all the applications themselves were all developed independently and all have different internal operations. But of course, data somehow has to get into the application, and it has to get out of the application. So we have to come up with a very standard way to be able to have all of these applications, in effect, speak the same language. They have to be able to pull this data in and send the data out in ways that all of the other applications would be able to understand as well.
The standardized language is very commonly used across web services. We have so many different applications running on the web, and these applications need some way to take data and send it across the network to this other application and still have everyone able to communicate. One very common way to do this is with something called XML. That stands for extensible markup language. This is a very standard way for these applications to communicate back and forth to each other.
What’s interesting about it is, not only can the machines understand what’s going back and forth, it’s completely readable by humans. It’s a text file, so you should be able to read it yourself to see exactly what’s being sent between these different applications. And these days, so many different applications support this. If you have opened or saved a word processing document, or spreadsheet, or some type of slideware like we see on the screen now, it more than likely stores that information in an XML format.
Here’s an example of a PowerPoint template that’s saved in XML. If you were to open up one of your PowerPoint documents and look at it with a text editor, this is similar to what you’d see. You can see that all of it is written in very easy to read text, so we know that we’re able to see it as humans, but it’s also in a very standard format. You’ll notice that there are certain less than and greater than signs, and inside of those you have incorporated a number of key words and values.
But some of this you can make out. Obviously something like title>PowerPoing Template. And then you have a creator. There’s my name, jmesser. The description is that this is presentations. You can see revision numbers.
So you can go through this XML file and make out what’s in there. The important part is that there’s a standardized way to be able to put all of the data into the XML file, send it across the network, and on the other side, that application can then look at all of this data and import it into its own format. This makes it very easy for all of our applications that we use every day to be able to communicate and work perfectly with each other.