Displaying XML

Raw XML files can be viewed in all major browsers.

Don't expect XML files to be displayed as HTML pages.

Viewing XML Files

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
 - <note>
       <body>Don't forget me this weekend!</body>

Look at the XML file above in your browser: note.xml

Most browsers will display an XML document with color-coded elements.

Often a plus (+) or minus sign (-) to the left of the elements can be clicked to expand or collapse the element structure.

To view raw XML source, try to select "View Page Source" or "View Source" from the browser menu.

Note: In Safari 5 (and earlier), only the element text will be displayed. To view the raw XML, you must right click the page and select "View Source".

Viewing an Invalid XML File

If an erroneous XML file is opened, some browsers report the error, and some only display it incorrectly.

Try to open the following XML file in Chrome, IE, Firefox, Opera, and Safari: note_error.xml.

Other XML Examples

Viewing some XML documents will help you get the XML feeling:

An XML breakfast menu
This is a breakfast food menu from a restaurant, stored as XML.

An XML CD catalog
This is a CD collection, stored as XML.

An XML plant catalog
This is a plant catalog from a plant shop, stored as XML.



Some text. Some text. Some text.

Some text. Some text. Some text.

Why Does XML Display Like This?

XML documents do not carry information about how to display the data.

Since XML tags are "invented" by the author of the XML document, browsers do not know if a tag like <table> describes an HTML table or a dining table.

Without any information about how to display the data, the browsers can just display the XML document as it is.

Displaying XML Files with CSS?

Below is an example of how to use CSS to format an XML document.

We can use an XML file like cd_catalog.xml and a style sheet like cd_catalog.css

RESULT: The CD catalog formatted with the CSS file

Below is a fraction of the XML file. The second line links the XML file to the CSS file:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<?xml-stylesheet type="text/css" href="cd_catalog.css"?>
    <TITLE>Empire Burlesque</TITLE>
    <ARTIST>Bob Dylan</ARTIST>
    <TITLE>Hide your heart</TITLE>
    <ARTIST>Bonnie Tyler</ARTIST>
Note Formatting XML with CSS is not recommended. Use JavaScript or XSLT instead.