If you create an XML output file, it can be read by other applications that support XML. One main advantage is that the application can define autonomously and completely detached from any display information contained in the document what parts of the structure are to be displayed and what the display should look like.
To create an XML version of your project:
Select Project > Export > XML from the main menu.
XML, the eXtensible Markup Language is a powerful standard for information exchange between applications and has been used by ATLAS.ti since release 4.2. In case you don’t know what XML is, the short explanation is that XML, similar to HTML, is a document markup language.
XML concentrates on structuring information. Structured information contains both content (actual words, pictures, etc.) plus typically some indication of what role that content plays (for example, text content inside a "heading" has a different meaning from content in a "footnote", content in a "figure caption" differs from content in a "database table", etc.).
Almost all documents have some structure, and a markup language is a mechanism to identify this structure in a document. The XML specification defines a standard way to add mark-up to documents.
XML is short for eXtensible Markup Language. This is already quite a useful description when you compare it to its "competitor" or predecessor, HTML, short for HyperText Markup Language.
The crucial term is "extensible", NOT "extended". HTML was intended to allow documents and information of considerable complexity to be exchanged across different technologies, operating systems, browsers, etc. It was also meant as a language which describes the logical structure of documents.
If you look at HTML code (right-click and select "View Source" when browsing any web page), you will have a hard time identifying content in the chaotic "noise" produced by tags representing tables, frames, buttons, rulers, fonts, images, indentation, etc.
Both HTML and XML are descendants of a much more powerful (and less comprehensible) language, SGML, the Standard Generalized Markup Language. What XML shares with the latter is that you can define your own new languages, something HTML does not allow for. While HTML is a prescribed language itself, XML is a meta-language for defining new languages.
HTML has no clear separation of content and presentation. With a fixed set of tags there is no way to clearly mark-up document content meaningfully.
If you have ever seen the source code of an HTML coded web page, you can easily recognize two of the main characteristics of XML which makes them distinct from HTML:
The presence of tags (e.g.,
<SPEECH TURN>) which are not available in the fixed set of HTML tags (where new tags would be either proprietary or at least deviations from the standards). The tags used in an XML file represent YOUR data without invalidating any standards! Below, a raw XML file is shown.
The absence of presentation (display, layout) related information (tables, fonts, images, rulers, etc.)
Below you can see an XML version of an interview section with some added information:
<Trans version="1" trans_method="LING22" version_date="990120" audio_filename="au.wav" xml:lang="DE"> <Speakers> <Speaker id="I" name="Interviewer"/> <Speaker id="B" name="Herr Schultz" dialect="bavarian"/> </Speakers> <Turn speaker="I" tape_pos="2010"> Ja. </Turn> <Turn speaker="B" tape_pos="2314"> Wars doch eigentlich, ja da wars doch glaub ich erst ein oder zwei Tage, oder vielleicht einen Tag. </Turn> </Trans>
If you interested in learning more about XML, there are countless sources online.