XML is more than just a way to store hierarchical data. If that were all there were to it, XML would quickly fall to more lightweight data storage methods that already exist. XML's big strength lies in its extensibility, and its companion standards, XSLT, XPath, Schema, and DTD languages, and a host of other standards for querying, linking, describing, displaying, and manipulating data. Schemas and DTDs provide a way for describing XML vocabularies and a way to validate documents. XSLT provides a powerful transformation engine to turn one XML vocabulary into another, or into HTML, plaintext, PDF, or a host of other formats. XPath is a query language for describing XML node sets. XSL-FO provides a way to create XML that describes the format and layout of a document for transformation to PDF or other visual formats.
Another good thing about XML is that most of the tools for working with XML are also written in XML, and can be manipulated using the same tools. XSLTs are written in XML, as are schemas. What this means in practical terms is that it's easy to use an XSLT to write another XSLT or a schema or to validate XSLTs or schemas using schemas.
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