As we have seen so far, ColdFusion MX has many new features and functions, but few are probably as exciting to developers as ColdFusion MX's new XML functionality. As you may or may not know, XML has rapidly become the de facto standard for information exchange between parties on the Internet, is an invaluable tool for software integration and point-to-point technologies such as Jabber, and is the foundation of web services.
Previous versions of ColdFusion have required developers to develop and deploy their own parsers or to wrap commercial or open-source XML parsers such as those from the Apache project to perform XML parsing and manipulation. This can be a daunting task even for experienced programmers. In this chapter, though, we will become familiar with the basic features of ColdFusion's XML functionality as well as the basic concepts and features of XML. After reading this chapter, you should have a good understanding of the foundational technologies and recommendations that make up XML. If you already have a solid understanding of XML and want to get to work immediately with web services, XSLT, XPath, or more advanced XML parsing, you can skip to Chapter 20, "Advanced XML."
As you might already know, ColdFusion was one of the first application servers to adopt and support XML through ColdFusion's native XML type WDDX, which was developed in 1998 by Simeon Simeonov. Since then, WDDX has helped developers integrate diverse applications, systems, and languages.
This chapter explains what XML is, how to create a Document Type Definition (DTD), what XML Schema is, how to parse XML using ColdFusion XML tags and functions, how to create a simple XML document dynamically with ColdFusion, and how to parse an XML document using ColdFusion XML tags and functions.