XML is a standard for exchanging structured documents and data over the Internet. Unlike HTML, which defines a specific document format, XML is much more generalized and can represent any data, just as SGML can. The demand for internationalization and for a technology that can work across various platforms in a standard way are the two driving forces behind XML. Having grown out of the Internet, XML is inherently global in nature, making it a powerful technology to use in creating world-ready applications. XML technologies are now integrated with various programming areas such as relational databases, distributed programming, document and page processing, as well as messaging and Web services.
One of the international features that XML comprises is encoding declaration, whereby an optional encoding attribute on the XML declaration defines the character encoding. A second international feature is related to character entities-like HTML, XML allows individual characters in a page to be encoded by specifying their exact Unicode character value. Indeed, XML's potential for improving business practices worldwide and for fostering the development of world-ready applications is easily apparent.
As you work with XML, try to use UTF-8 or UTF-16 encoding in order to reach as many platforms as possible. Make sure your data is language-neutral. Also, follow the W3C XML Schema standard and note how you store your data in XML. As a final best practice, take advantage of the many MSXML tips and tricks that have been outlined here and keep up to date with the new XML features of the .NET Framework.