What is XML? What is its function?

Extensible Markup Language (XML) is used to describe data. The XML standard is a flexible way to create information formats and electronically share structured data via the public Internet, as well as via corporate networks.

XML code, a formal recommendation from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), is similar to Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). Both XML and HTML contain markup symbols to describe page or file contents. HTML code describes Web page content (mainly text and graphic images) only in terms of how it is to be displayed and interacted with.

XML data is known as self-describing or self-defining, meaning that the structure of the data is embedded with the data, thus when the data arrives there is no need to pre-build the structure to store the data; it is dynamically understood within the XML. The XML format can be used by any individual or group of individuals or companies that want to share information in a consistent way. XML is actually a simpler and easier-to-use subset of the Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML), which is the standard to create a document structure.

The basic building block of an XML document is an element, defined by tags. An element has a beginning and an ending tag. All elements in an XML document are contained in an outermost element known as the root element. XML can also support nested elements, or elements within elements. This ability allows XML to support hierarchical structures. Element names describe the content of the element, and the structure describes the relationship between the elements.

An XML document is considered to be “well formed” (that is, able to be read and understood by an XML parser) if its format complies with the XML specification, if it is properly marked up, and if elements are properly nested. XML also supports the ability to define attributes for elements and describe characteristics of the elements in the beginning tag of an element.

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Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Text-xml.svg

Applications for XML are endless. For example, computer makers might agree upon a standard or common way to describe the information about a computer product (processor speed, memory size, and so forth) and then describe the product information format with XML code. Such a standard way of describing data would enable a user to send an intelligent agent (a program) to each computer maker’s Web site, gather data, and then make a valid comparison.

XML’s benefits sometimes appeared revolutionary in scope shortly after it was introduced. However, as a concept, it fell short of being revolutionary. It also fell short of being the panacea. The over-application of XML in so many areas of technology diminished its real value, and results in a great deal of unnecessary confusion. Perhaps most damaging is the predictable behavior of many vendors that look to recast XML using their own set of proprietary extensions. Although some want to add value to XML, others seek only to lock in users to their products.

XML’s power resides in its simplicity. It can take large chunks of information and consolidate them into an XML document ‑ meaningful pieces that provide structure and organization to the information.

 

Reference: http://searchmicroservices.techtarget.com/definition/XML-Extensible-Markup-Language

 

 

 

What is cloud computing? What models are available for cloud computing? Explain.

Cloud computing means storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of your computer’s hard drive. The cloud is just a metaphor for the Internet. It goes back to the days of flowcharts and presentations that would represent the gigantic server-farm infrastructure of the Internet as nothing but a puffy, white cumulonimbus cloud, accepting connections and doling out information as it floats.

What cloud computing is not about is the hard drive. When you store data on or run programs from the hard drive, that’s called local storage and computing. Everything you need is physically close to you, which means accessing your data is fast and easy, for that one computer, or others on the local network. Working off your hard drive is how the computer industry functioned for decades; some would argue it’s still superior to cloud computing.

The cloud is also not about having dedicated network attached storage (NAS) hardware or server in residence. Storing data on a home or office network does not count as utilizing the cloud. (However, some NAS will remotely access things over the Internet).

For it to be considered “cloud computing,” you need to access your data or your programs over the Internet, or at the very least, have that data synchronized with other information over the Web. In a big business, you may know all there is to know about what’s on the other side of the connection; as an individual user, you may never have any idea what kind of massive data-processing is happening on the other end. The end result is the same: with an online connection, cloud computing can be done anywhere, anytime.

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source: https://www.cloudnloud.com/

There are three different types of services can be delivered in the various cloud deployment environments: SaaS, PaaS and IaaS.

SaaS (Software as a Service): The consumer can use the provider’s software as a service through a thin client interface, such as a web browser. This is the visible part of Cloud Computing for the end user who no longer needs to set up the application on his desktop and can access his account through the web within a 100% secured environment.

PaaS (Platform as a Service): The consumer can deploy onto the infrastructure applications created using programming languages and tools supported by the provider. PaaS facilitates deployment of applications and provides all of the facilities require to support. It offers basic functions so that the developer does not need to worry about user management or availability issues.

IaaS (Infrastructure as a service): The consumer can provision processing, storage, networks, and other fundamental computing resources where he is able to deploy and run arbitrary software. In this case, the company can have, upon request, the ability to manage any application.

 

References:

http://me.pcmag.com/networking-communications-software-products/1758/feature/what-is-cloud-computing

http://www.systancia.com/en/cloud-computing-models