What are attributes?

Basically, the data in an XML document can be stored in two ways: between the start tag and the end tag, or as the value of an attribute defined inside the start tag. Here is a simple example, where we put the same information but in three different ways:

    I'll be back!

<message type="email">
    I'll be back!

<message type="email" message="I'll be back!"/>

Traditionally, the second method is preferred. The element contains the data aimed to the end-user, while the attributes are used for processing the element content, adding to it meta-information.

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