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XML Tools in Visual Studio 

Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a markup language that provides a format for describing data. This facilitates more precise declarations of content and more meaningful search results across multiple platforms. In addition, XML enables the separation of presentation from data. For example, in HTML you use tags to tell the browser to display data as bold or italic; in XML you use tags only to describe data, such as city name, temperature, and barometric pressure. In XML you use style sheets such as Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL) and cascading style sheets (CSS) to present the data in a browser. XML separates the data from the presentation and the process, enabling you to display and process the data as you wish, by applying different style sheets and applications.

XML is a subset of SGML that is optimized for delivery over the Web. It is defined by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). This standardization ensures that structured data will be uniform and independent of applications or vendors.

XML is at the core of many features of Visual Studio and the .NET Framework. The topic list below names the tools and features related to XML that are offered in Visual Studio and the .NET Framework.

For more information, see the XML Developer Center (, which provides the latest documentation, technical information, downloads, newsgroups, and other resources for XML developers.

In This Section

Working with XML Data

Discusses the role of XML in the way data is handled in Visual Studio.

Debugging XSLT

Discusses how to use the Visual Studio debugger to debug XSLT.

XML Schema Designer (XML Designer)

Discusses how to create and edit XML schema files


XML Standards Reference

Provides information on the XML technologies including, XML, Document Type Definition (DTD), XML Schema definition language (XSD), and XSLT.


Describes the classes and other elements that make up the System.XML namespace and provides links to more detailed information on each item.


Describes the classes and other elements that make up the System.XML.Serialization namespace and provides links to more detailed information on each item.

Related Sections

XML Document Object Model (DOM)

Describes how the XmlDocument and its associated classes conform to the W3C Document Object Model (Core) Level 1 and Level 2 namespace support specifications.

Reading XML with the XmlReader

Describes how the XmlReader provides noncached, forward only, read-only access to XML data over an XML stream.

Writing XML with the XmlWriter

Describes how the XmlWriter provides noncached, forward only, way of generating XML streams and helps you build XML documents that conform to the W3C standard.

XSLT Transformations

Describes how the XslCompiledTransform class implements the XSLT 1.0 recommendation.

Process XML Data Using the XPath Data Model

Describes how the XPathNavigator class can process XML data stored in an XPathDocument or an XmlDocument object. The XPathNavigator class is based on the XQuery 1.0 and XPath 2.0 Data Model and can be used to navigate and edit XML data.

XML Schema Object Model (SOM)

Describes the classes used for creating and manipulating XML Schemas, by providing an XmlSchema class to load and edit a schema.

Resolve External XML Resources Named by a URI

Explains that the XmlResolver is an abstract class that resolves external XML resources named by a Uniform Resource Identifier (URI).