Microsoft Excel is a commercial spreadsheet application written and distributed by Microsoft for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X. Pre-2007 versions of Excel use XLS as the primary format for saving files. It features calculation, graphing tools, pivot tables, and a macro programming language called Visual Basic for Applications. It has been a very widely applied spreadsheet for these platforms, especially since version 5 in 1993, and it has almost completely replaced Lotus 1-2-3 as the industry standard for spreadsheets. Excel forms part of Microsoft Office. The current versions are 2010 for Microsoft Windows and 2011 for Mac OS X.
Microsoft Excel up until 2007 version used a proprietary binary file format called Binary Interchange File Format (BIFF) as its primary format. Used as the basis for XLS files it is a persistence format that supports authoring and manipulating content in workbooks and workbook templates. Most versions of Microsoft Excel can read CSV, DBF, SYLK, DIF, and other legacy formats.
XML is a file type containing a markup language. This is readable by both a human user and an application. Designed to be a store data, rather than display data, it is a platform independent language and allows users to define their own tags. Its portability and vendor independence have made this a hugely popular file format, particularly online. XML allows structure to be given to data which allows other applications to interpret and process the data within an XML file. XML is considered as important to the web as HTML.
All .XML files contain a basic structure within which users can define their own tags. Each file starts with what is called the XML declaration. This defines the version and encoding within the file itself. The file must then define a root element, also known as the parent element. The root element then has child element(s). All tags in an XML file must have a corresponding closing tag. XML files can contain comments, entity references and attributes. Applications can then be developed to extract the values within a file and represent them as desired.
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