Re: Wikipedia on XML
On Fri, Aug 7, 2009 at 2:17 PM, Michael Kay<email@example.com> wrote: > That dodges the question "What kind of thing is XML" by saying "It's the > same kind of thing as SGML". That's not a very good answer to the question. We would of course include a link to the SGML entry here. Hmm, maybe we should steal from that entry? The SGML entry says: The Standard Generalized Markup Language (ISO 8879:1986 SGML) is an ISO Standard metalanguage in which one can define markup languages for documents. SGML is a descendant of IBM's Generalized Markup Language (GML), developed in the 1960s by Charles Goldfarb, Edward Mosher and Raymond Lorie (whose surname initials were used by Goldfarb to make up the term GML). SGML provides an abstract syntax that can be implemented in many different concrete syntaxes. For instance, although it is the norm to use angle brackets as tag delimiters in an SGML document (per the reference concrete syntax defined in the standard), it is possible to use other characters instead, provided that a suitable concrete syntax is defined in the document's SGML declaration. For example, an SGML interpreter could be programmed to parse GML markup. In GML, tags are bounded by a colon on the left and a full stop on the right; an :e prefix denotes an end tag: :xmp.Hello, world:exmp.. so our first sentence could be: "XML (Extensible markup Language) is a W3C recommended metalanguage in which one can define markup languages for documents." or, better yet, "XML is a W3C recommended syntax in which one can define markup languages for documents." I actually think that's the most accurate description yet. I'm happy with the notion that XML *is* a *syntax*. I don't think it's really a language, and I'm not sure what a metalanguage is either. -- Elliotte Rusty Harold firstname.lastname@example.org
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