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Opera 4.0 Eases Communication of Data - Includes XML support

April 11, 2000

XML - The Extensible Markup Language

XML is The Extensible Markup Language. XML eases the communication of data.It is the universal format for structured documents and data on the Web.Quite simply, XML is changing the Web. XML is very powerful and versatile, yet it is relatively easy to learn. With the use of style sheets XML can be displayed in Opera 4.0.


HTML and XML look a lot alike. Both use tags with that surround data. HTML formats a text file for humans to see. This is called rendering. XML looks like HTML but instead of rendering a file it carries information about the data in your file. XML allows you to define your own tags. Tags contain information about the data they surround rather than specifying how it is to be seen. Thus, XML does not replace HTML. With XML you can understand more about the information in the document plus, and this is key, a computer can too.


It is difficult with so many people using different applications to exchange data without losing valuable information. For example a supplier in California might need to pass on information from its database to a vendor repeatedly. Information that is contained in a database interpreted by an application that the vendor is not using. By using XML the supplier can communicate the information the vendor needs without requiring expensive software solutions. In this case XML effectively becomes the database without the application (software) to interpret it. Just think of it, your vendor doesn't even have to have the same operating system and still the data can be shared without information loss. XML could also be used to refine searching. Have you ever noticed that when you perform a search you end up with a lot of items you don't want - crowding out the data that you do want? Just try searching for information on the war of the roses and you'll see what I mean. With XML we can specify what kind of rose or war data the document contains. Allowing for more intelligent returns when data needs to be gathered. Additionally there is no need for expensive, proprietary software to view an XML document. XML is an open standard that can be viewed with a wide variety of tools, many of which are free. Then, programmers can, depending on the use the data is meant for, define how tags are to be used within an application; easing communication greatly.


XML will change the Web, it is powerful and versatile. While powerful, XML is simple and the basics can be learned easily. The Opera Team would like to enable you to learn more about this exciting feature now available in Opera 4.0. At Opera we believe it is easier to learn by doing. Rather than trying to describe in detail how to make a working XML document, we've made examples available. Visit to explore an XML document. Then see the same content, in HTML at: The CSS file they share is available at: Additionally the source is available at

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