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Discussions about XML seem to be everywhere at the moment. Is it all hype?


People do love a bandwagon, but XML remains an excellent way of sharing data and making larger projects more durable and extensible. The fact that you can define standards using DTDs also means you can build lightweight interpreters that do not need to waste time on error checking. If you have ever tried to download a browser from the Web, you will know how enormous they have become. One of the reasons XHTML—the XML version of HTML—is so important is the likely rise of lightweight browsers in cell phones, PDAs, and other devices that simply will not have the processing power available to handle HTML unless it conforms to a standard. You can read more about XHTML at http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/.


Throughout this hour, you warned that many XML features are not yet stable. Is it worth working with XML in PHP?


The answer is emphatically yes. PHP's support for XML is in transition at the moment to ensure compliance with standards and bring the various XML extensions together using the same libraries. This means that some functionality is still under development (as this book goes to press) and some function names might be subject to change. The end result, however, should be a powerful and stable suite of tools for working with XML in PHP. You should keep an eye on the manual at http://www.php.net to monitor developments. I will try to mention any necessary amendments to this chapter on my site at http://p24.corrosive.co.uk.

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