Trying to understand XML


What is the point of displaying data from XML from a database and binding it with a control when you can just connect directly to the database and then display it using a control? A friend told me it's so that the data is dynamic. Well of course it can be dynamic without XML. So what's the deal with XML (particularily from a database)? What make so special?

I read that XML can be understood between different machines, like cash registers or whatever. Is this true?


1/21/2007 11:11:52 PM 72751 articles. 3 followers. Follow

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Hi Justin,

The reason we use XML a LOT is that you cannot always connect directly to the db.  A lot fo the time we bind to other data sources such as a web service or an XML file.  XML is a common format that most systems can produce hence you can easily bind to a result set from pretty much any program as long as they can produce XML.  Systems such as cash registers and accounting programs and financial systems that all run on their own proprietary data formats can communicate with XML.

As an example you could write a web app that binds to a result set from a cash register and you dont need ti know anythign about that cash registers systems you only need to have the XML which in .Net you can just bind to straight away. 

Cheers HTH

Philip Beadle (MVP, MCAD, MCT DotNetNuke Core Team)
1/21/2007 11:17:39 PM

Thanks aus_nexxus!

What do you mean that you cannot always connect directly to the db? Anyway, do most people use XML for displaying the data from the db, even if they don't actually need it to communicate with different systems? Is it slower since it has to take the db's info, and then transform it to XML? (Unless you use an external local XML file)


1/22/2007 3:13:08 AM

What I mean is you dont always get given the database server connection string therefpre you can connect directly to it.  Quite often a service provider will only publish an XML feed or web service for you to access their data.

If you can access the db then use direct access.  Even when you can access the db you may want to produce XML (SQL 2005 can do this directly from the DB with the FOR XML command) depending on your requirements. 


Philip Beadle (MVP, MCAD, MCT DotNetNuke Core Team)
1/22/2007 3:23:06 AM
The Main purpose of XML is interportability. Suppose how a Java and .NET application can communicate, They cannot understand each other language/variable/objcts. But both of them can understand XML if One can pass an XML the other can easily pick it and the vice versa. 

Sure you do not have to take XML as consideration if you do not need any communication with an align system, you can surly drop it from your mind. Regarding Performace, Yes there is some overhead generating the xml from db but that complety depends upon the size of the data.
Long Live .NET
Kazi Manzur Rashid (Amit)
Web: http //
1/22/2007 3:36:18 AM

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