XML is a cross-platform, extensible, text-based standard for representing data. When XML data is exchanged between parties, the parties are free to create their own tags to describe the data, set up schemas to specify which tags can be used in a particular kind of XML document, and use XML stylesheets to manage the display and handling of the data.
For example, a web service can use XML and a schema to produce price lists, and companies that receive the price lists and schema can have their own stylesheets to handle the data in a way that best suits their needs. Here are examples:
One company might put XML pricing information through a program to translate the XML to HTML so that it can post the price lists to its intranet.
A partner company might put the XML pricing information through a tool to create a marketing presentation.
Another company might read the XML pricing information into an application for processing.