XML Vs HTML, What Are They Used For?

XML Vs HTML, What Are They Used For?

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Designed with their own distinct purposes understanding the differences between XML vs HTML is important for all web developers. To help you better understand these languages, we’ll go over the definitions and functions of XML vs HTML as well as their key differences.

Definition of HTML

HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) is the coding language for building web pages. The commands written into a web-based document develop the piece and its layout into the browser. Browsers then interpret the document and its HTML codes to render it on the screen. HTML documents are considered text files that hold all the information a developer needs published.

The embedded codes determine the presentation and structure of the document on a browser. They are made up of tags inside angled brackets which surround text. Typically, tags come in a set with a beginning and an ending tag.

HTML was created to display data to zero in on the way that data looks. HTML is the display for data.

Definition of XML

XML (Extensible Markup Language) is a coding language that allows a writer to define a rendering of data or data structures where values are represented by each field in the structure. Developed by IBM in the 1960s, XML was originally known as GML (Generalized Markup Language) and laid the groundwork for complex coding languages.

XML requires users to follow a set of rules defined by XML such as the use of data strings and text surrounded by text markup. In XML, units are referred to as elements, and an XML writer can not pass the code if it includes any syntax, punctuation, or grammar errors.

XML coding requires two parts: the prolog and the body. A prolog in XML includes administrative metadata, processing instructions, document type declaration, and comments. The body in XML is sectioned into two parts, structural and content, both present within plain text.

XML was created to describe data and to zero in on what that data represents. XML is extensible and describes information.

XML is a complement to HTML, not a substitute for HTML.

A common issue for web developers is exchanging data between incompatible online systems. XML can convert data and minimize its complexity, making it readable by any kind of application. XML can store data in files or databases, and you can write applications to store and recover information from hard disks or generic forms of data displays.


laptop on the table showing a xml vs html programing codes

?Image Source: Unsplash

  • ?HTML can ignore whitespaces, but whitespaces are used for a specific reason in XML, so every character is considered
  • ?An open tag in HTML can work fine, but it’s mandatory for tags to be closed in XML
  • ?HTML structures are pre-defined and tags for “head” and “body” are used while XML includes logical structuring for documents
  • ?HTML is case insensitive and XML is case sensitive
  • ?HTML will ignore small errors, but XML will not allow any mistakes if there are errors in the code
  • ?HTML is a pre-defined coding language with limited capabilities
  • ?XML is a text-based coding markup language with a self-describing structure that can define another markup language
  • ?Nesting is important to XML syntax and needs to be done without error while HTML will post with improper nesting
  • ?HTML was created to enhance the presentation of data, but XML is data specific, so data storage and transfer are its primary concerns
  • ?XML is the main language to describe the structure of web data while HTML is responsible for displaying the data

Advantages of Using HTML

  • ?HTML documents are simple to create
  • ?HTML works across different systems
  • ?HTML has a simple syntax that’s easy to understand
  • ?Many tags can be used for a webpage
  • ?Choices between colors, objects, and layouts

Advantages of Using XML

  • ?Documents are accessible across platforms and data exchange is quick and easy
  • ?Data from HTML is separated from XML
  • ?XML simplifies changing processes between platforms


While XML and HTML markup languages are related to one another, there are still many differences in their applications. The primary function of HTML is data presentation and the primary function of XML is to store and transfer data. XML document parsing is simple and efficient with a standard markup language used to define other languages. HTML is a pre-defined language of its own.

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