What is meant when we say that XML is both machine readable and human readable?
In computing, data is usually presented in a binary representation of 1’s and 0’s. However, human readable data is often encoded using text. This means it is possible to open an XML file in a simple text application like notepad and what you see is a set of data that is made up of letters, numbers and characters that you would encounter every day in most documents or what you would see on your keyboard.
In most contexts, the alternative to a human-readable representation is a machine-readable format which is meant for reading by computers only.
Let us take a look at this example of an XML document.
<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″ standalone=”yes”?>
<body>Don’t forget our meeting today at 2pm</body>
As you can see from this example, the XML document is made up of letters, words and characters that you encounter every day and thus it can be read by humans. However, the information contained in the first line is information that will be read by a computer. This provides the machine with vital information about the document that will be used while it is being processed by a machine and thus XML is also machine readable.