Imagine what it would be like if every electrical appliance in your home had a different type of plug. Chances are, you'd end up putting most of those gizmos back in the cupboard and doing the task manually. Or what if none of the screwdrivers or wrenches in your tool shed even came close to fitting the screws, nuts, and bolts that hold your stuff together? Well, all I can say is, watch out for falling bookshelves! Fortunately, neither scenario is likely because people figured out long ago that by creating products according to guidelines, or rules of standardization, they could have far more productive societies.
In essence, rules of standardization let's just call them standards facilitate linkages between disparate items, such as batteries and flashlights; Macromedia Flash and multiuser game servers; and so on. And on the Web, where so much data gets transferred every second, having a standardized way of moving data between systems is essential. The powerful and easy-to-use XML is quickly becoming that standard.
In this appendix we'll introduce you to the XML format, and look at how to use the XML object and the XMLSocket object in Flash.