CSV vs XML - Which One is Better for You - ByteScout
  • Home
  • /
  • Blog
  • /
  • CSV vs XML – Which One is Better for You

CSV vs XML – Which One is Better for You

The most prevalent file formats used by developers are CSV and XML. However, there is still a conflict between their utility. So, in this article, we will compare the two formats and see which one is better.

  1. What CSV Stands For
  2. What XML Stands For
  3. CSV vs XML: Which is Better and Why?
  4. Other XML Comparisons
  5. CSV to XML Converters


What CSV Stands For

CSV stands for “Comma Separated Values,” which signifies that the “columns” are separated by a delimiter in a standard text file. It is still a widely common file format for all sorts of data.

You can use CSV files most typically for importing and exporting vital data to and from your database, such as customer or order data. Furthermore, you may open CSV files in a variety of spreadsheet tools, including Microsoft Excel and Google Spreadsheets.

What XML Stands For

Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a programming language that you may use for a variety of purposes. This includes configuration files, data storage, and so on. It’s structured similarly to an HTML page, but it makes use of special tags to specify objects and the data contained within them. They’re still text files, but they have a highly specific syntax for defining nodes and associating data values or child nodes with them.

It fully supports hierarchical data structures and is ideal for receiving large amounts of data as a response. Although XML is a relatively legible format, it has the disadvantage of being quite large and containing tags, attributes, namespaces, and schemas. But wait, there’s more to compare between the two file types before we make a decision. So, let’s compare and evaluate the two.

What is an XML File

In an XML file, data is structured using tags, which enclose content and define its meaning. These tags are defined by the user and can be customized to suit specific data requirements. XML files can also include attributes within tags to provide additional information about the data.

The structure of an XML file is hierarchical, forming a tree-like structure with a single root element that branches out into child elements. This hierarchical structure allows for nesting and organizing data in a logical manner.

XML is widely used in various domains such as web development, data storage, configuration files, and data interchange formats. It provides a flexible and extensible format for representing structured data that can be easily processed and interpreted by both humans and machines.

CSV vs XML: Which is Better and Why?

Developers can use XML and CSV to store the information on the disc, in a database, or as a computer-readable interchange format. For some applications, CSV is ideal. It’s simpler to stream than XML, for example, as a “streaming” format for massive datasets.

When your data is simply tabular, and you know its format, CSV files are excellent. It does not, however, support data hierarchies.

XML tends to operate better as you start having relationships between different layers of your data. You might use it to store the same kind of data that you would in a CSV file, as well as configuration variables and other sophisticated data connections.

Even though XML is the most readable format of data to date, people still started looking at alternatives. There are various problems with this format that can make it impractical, such as extreme verbosity.

Other XML Comparisons


XML and XLSX are two different file formats used for distinct purposes. Here’s a quick comparison between them.

Markup language for storing and exchanging structured data. File format specifically designed for spreadsheet data.
Uses tags to define and organize data elements. Organizes data in worksheets, rows, and columns.
Can be processed and interpreted by both humans and machines. Requires specific software (Excel or compatible) to view and edit the data.
Customizable tags and attributes. Supports features like formulas, charts, and formatting options.
Suitable for data interchange between different systems. Ideal for complex data analysis and presentation.
Primarily focuses on data structure and flexibility. Primarily focuses on data manipulation and spreadsheet features.


While XML focuses on data structure and flexibility, PDF emphasizes document presentation and visual fidelity. Understanding the differences between these formats is crucial for choosing the appropriate one based on specific requirements and use cases.

Markup language for storing and exchanging structured data. Portable Document Format used for document presentation and exchange.
Uses tags to define and organize data elements in a hierarchical structure. Designed to preserve document formatting across different platforms.
Provides a flexible and extensible format for representing data. Represents a fixed-layout document that looks the same on any device.
Allows for customization of tags and attributes to suit specific data requirements. Supports text, images, graphics, and interactive elements. Document security features such as encryption and digital signatures.
Suitable for data interchange between different systems and applications. Ideal for sharing documents that require a consistent appearance.
Can be processed and interpreted by both humans and machines. Requires a PDF viewer to display and interact with the content.
Primarily focuses on representing and structuring data rather than document presentation. Primarily focuses on document presentation and visualization.


XML focuses on storing and exchanging structured data, while HTML is primarily used for creating web pages and displaying content. Check and compare the two formats.

Focuses on data structure and flexibility. Focuses on document presentation and layout.
Uses tags to define and organize data elements. Allows for customization of tags and attributes. Uses tags to structure and format web content. Offers a predefined set of tags and attributes.
Not limited to web development; used in various domains. Primarily used for web page development.
Can be used as a data interchange format between systems. Used to define the structure and content of web pages.
Doesn’t provide built-in rendering or styling. Supports styling and layout through CSS.
Requires a specific schema or DTD for validation. Can be validated using browser rendering engines.
Suitable for complex data representation and data exchange. Suitable for creating web pages and linking resources.

CSV to XML Converters

CSV to XML converters are tools that facilitate the conversion of data from Comma-Separated Values (CSV) format to eXtensible Markup Language (XML) format. These converters extract data from CSV files, which are plain text files with tabular data, and convert it into a structured XML format that can be easily processed, exchanged, and utilized by various systems and applications that rely on XML data representation.

CSV to XML in Python

 Converting CSV files to XML format using Python involves using a library to read CSV files and generate XML output. This process involves extracting data and transforming it into a structured XML format that can be used for various purposes, such as data extraction.

Here’s the step-by-step guide on how to convert CSV files to XML in Python using PDF.co Web API.

1. To get started, we need to install the request module, which is commonly used for managing packages in Python. To install the request module, open your command line and enter the following command python -m pip install requests. Press the Enter key to execute the command, and the request module will be installed in your Python environment.

2. Once you have installed the request module, open your preferred Python editor, such as Visual Studio Code editor, or any other of your choice. Then, add the Python sample code to your editor. You can obtain the Python sample code by visiting this link.

3. Let’s proceed with setting up the Python code.

In the code, locate line 7 and add your API Key. You can obtain the API key from your PDF.co dashboard or by signing up at this link.

Move to line 13 and input the direct URL of your specific CSV file. Make sure to provide the correct URL where your CSV file is hosted or accessible.

4. After setting up the Python code, save the file to ensure it is recognized as a Python script. Then, proceed to execute the program by clicking on the Run button.

5. Once the program runs successfully, click on the resulting URL to view the XML output. 

6. Here’s a quick demonstration of CSV to XML in Python workflow.

CSV to XML Converter Demo


CSV and XML are the two most common data formats. Developers use them to send data from a web server to a client nowadays. So, Keep compatibility with your system in mind while deciding between the two data formats. As a result, it relies on what you’re doing and what the underlying technology is capable of.

XML is a technology that you may use to connect systems and applications. CSV, on the other hand, may be used to store enormous amounts of data that must always be concatenated, such as log files, as well as for data streaming.


About the Author

ByteScout Team ByteScout Team of Writers ByteScout has a team of professional writers proficient in different technical topics. We select the best writers to cover interesting and trending topics for our readers. We love developers and we hope our articles help you learn about programming and programmers.