An XML pipeline is a formalized, logical expression of the method by which an XML (Extensible Markup Language) document is handled. An XML pipeline is rendered as a series of operations over an XML infoset, which is a collection of information items about the document's characters, attributes and namespaces, collectively called elements.
XML documents enter a pipeline and are processed by the operations. The documents are then output for display, storage or further processing. An XML pipeline can specify operations such as:
- Making a verbatim copy of a file
- Renaming a file
- Altering specific elements in a file.
- Resequencing the order in which elements in a file appear.
- Inserting new elements in a file.
- Deleting specific elements from a file.
- Surrounding (or wrapping) specific elements with additional elements.
- Splitting a file into multiple files.
- Merging (or aggregating) two or more files into a single file.
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- The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has published specifications for an XML pipeline definition language.