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Difference Between XML and HTML

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Difference Between XML and HTML

What is the difference between xml and html? This is a very important interview question. Here, we attempt to talk about the differences between HTML (full form of html is Hyper Text Markup Language) and XML (xml full form in computer jargon being Extensible Markup Language) in the form of a comparison chart. Along with explaining the main differences between HTML and XML, the article will also touch upon the definition of HTML and the definition of XML.


Comparison chart depicting html and xml difference:

Basis of Difference




HTML is mainly used for displaying data and focusing on the way in which data appears on webpages.

XML, a hardware and software independent tool, is utilized or the purpose of transporting and storing data. It lays complete focus on the kind of data as it is.

Mark language

HTML can be best defined as being a markup language in itself.

XML is not a markup language, however, it lays down the framework for defining markup languages.

Case sensitiveness

HTML is not case-sensitive.

XML happens to be case-sensitive.

Presentation language

HTML also doubles up as a presentation language.

XML is not a presentation language; neither is it a programming language.

Definition of tags

HTML offers its own predefined tags.

Tags can be defined in XML as per the needs of a programmer/ designer. XML is considered to be flexible as custom tags can be defined as and when needed.

Usage of closing tags

Closing tags are not necessarily used in HTML.

Closing tags are mandatorily used in XML.


HTML is static as it is mainly used for displaying data.

As it is used or the transportation of data, XML is dynamic in nature.

Preservation of white spaces

HTML fails to preserve whitespaces.

XML features the capability of preserving whitespaces.

Full form

HTML full form is HyperText Markup Language

XML full form is Extensible Markup Language.

Application of data

HTML data is mainly used for showcasing the design of a web page in the manner in which it has to be rendered on the client-side.

The data is transported between a database and related application with the help of XML programs.

What is XML?

XML is basically a markup language that is used for defining a set of rules for the purpose of encoding documents. The rules are defined in machine-readable and human-readable formats alike. W3C's XML 1.0 Specification, many other related specifications and free open standards are used for defining XML. It is an important complement of HTML but cannot be termed as its substitute. In future, XML will be used as the main language for describing structure and data in web applications while HTML will be used for the purpose of displaying data.

Features of XML

  • XML design goals lay emphasis on generality, usability and simplicity of data across the Internet.
  • XML serves as a textual data format that has strong support via Unicode for various human languages.
  • XML mainly focuses on documents but is significantly used for representing arbitrary data structures as in the case of the ones used in web services.

Used by a majority of software developers, XML is the future for data manipulation in web development. Its main usage areas are:

  • XML stores data in a separate location from HTML so that any modifications done to html codes does not affect the xml documents. Given this, programmers can concentrate on using HTML for the purpose of formatting and displaying only.
  • XML stores data inside HTML documents. This data finds place in HTML documents as “data islands”. The html codes can be used for formatting and displaying data while the “data islands” come in use for storage purposes only.
  • XML may be used as the preferred format for the exchange of information. XML data is easy to convert and reduces the complexity for developers using calculation systems and databases. After conversion, XML data is easy to decipher and read by all kinds of applications.
  • XML is used for the storage of data in databases and files. Thus, applications can be written for storing and recovering information from hard disks. Additionally, generic applications can also be created for displaying certain kinds of data.

What is HTML?

HTML serves as the standard markup language for the purpose of developing web applications and web pages. It offers JavaScript and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to offer a triad of technologies for web development. The features of html are:

  • Web servers as well as local storage devices provide the HTML documents to web browsers so that they can be rendered into client-side multimedia web pages.
  • HTML codes define the structure of web pages semantically; they contain originally included cues to take care of the appearance of documents.
  • HTML constructs, images as well as objects of the likes of interactive forms are the building blocks of html documents. The rendered pages contain them as embedded items.
  • HTML codes help in the creation of structured documents via text-related structural elements like headings, lists, links, paragraphs, quotes, etc.
  • Tags are used for delineating structural semantics for HTML elements and text. They are written with the help of angle brackets. <img /> and <input /> tags directly add content to a html page. Tags like <p> surround and offer information related to document text; they may have other tags in the form of sub-elements.
  • The html tags are not displayed by web browsers; they are merely used for interpreting the content of html pages.
  • HTML embeds programs scripted in language such as JavaScript to affect the content and behaviour of web pages.

Key Difference between HTML and XML

The xml is Extensible Markup Language and it resembles HTML. However, instead of designing or formatting web pages, it is used for transporting, storing and describing data. XML cannot be substituted by XML and vice versa. The key differences between html and xml are

  • Unlike HTML tags, the ones in XML tags are not pre-defined and can be created as per need.
  • XML is self-descriptive and uses the DDT principle (Defining the Document Type) for describing data formally.
  • XML document structure describes data and lays focus on what it represents. HTML displays data and lays focus on how the rendered web pages look.
  • HTML displays data while XML describes information.
  • XML is extensible.


Now that you have understood xml and html meaning, the main aspects of xml vs html and the key pointers related to xml and html difference, you may want to understand how to use xml in html and the advantages of xml over html. In case you have any further inputs pertaining to the differences between html and xml then please write to us in the Comments section below. We shall wait to hear from you.