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In some of those early computers people would hand toggle programs into the computer by setting switches. Of course, they couldn’t agree and the systems built with Motorola components used the first 8 bits as the high part of the 16 bit value while systems built with Intel used the second 8 bits. A 64-bit floating point on one system with the value “125.8904” is sent as eight ASCII characters and properly stored by the receiving system as a 32-bit floating point, its native floating point format. Since the great preponderance of Microsoft applications, database engines, and analytics programs use XML to send and receive data, we automation guys don’t really have a choice but to play ball with the big boys.And as time went on, there were further disagreements about other data types, how many bits comprised a floating point number, how many bits in a real number and how to order ASCII characters in memory. And the data language for sending these ASCII characters from one system to another became known as e Xtensible Markup Language. Let’s face it – we really wouldn’t choose to move XML data around the factory floor if we had our druthers. Especially in an area where we have so much to gain. That means that data in an XML document is surrounded by text markup that assigns tags to the data values.The word “HELLO” is still encoded in some systems as E H L L _O, where underscore represents the ASCII Space character. Each data value together with its distinguishing tag name is an XML element, the basic, defining unit of an XML document.

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In the earliest days of computing there was a computer war of sorts. So the idea came into being that everybody recognizes ASCII characters. You can’t send them until you build them and when you build them you have to have a place to store them. The IT people use XML because they don’t care about RAM. They just upgrade to another platform when one runs out of gas.

There were two big gorillas duking it out; Intel and Motorola. When I walk in the bank with my paycheck and it has the six characters “$10.27” the teller recognizes those characters and deposits my ten dollars and twenty-seven cents. All their standard offerings from Microsoft, for example, like Word, Excel and the rest, are XML centric.

If you knew how that system 1 treated floating points using 64-bits with this many bits for the mantissa and so on and that the other systems used 32-bits with its format you could write a translator. Unlike any number of other document standards an XML document has no specific set of required tags.

Instead the tags are defined by the document creator.

XML is becoming increasingly important in the world of Industrial Automation.

Last modified 15-Jun-2016 19:05