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XML

So, what is really new about Web services? The answer is XML. XML lies at the core of Web services and provides a common language for describing remote procedure calls, Web services, and Web service directories.

XML is the acronym for eXtensible Markup Language, the universal format for structured documents and data on the Web. XML is an industry-standard protocol administered by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). XML is a key enabling technology for Microsoft .NET.

Prior to XML, one could share data among different applications, but XML makes this so much easier to do. In the same vein, one can share services and code without Web services, but XML makes it easier to do these as well.

By standardizing on XML, different applications can more easily talk to one another, and this makes software a whole lot more interesting.