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RE: Wikipedia on XML

  • From: "Jim Tivy" <jimt@bluestream.com>
  • To: "'Elliotte Rusty Harold'" <elharo@ibiblio.org>,"'Tim Bray'" <Tim.Bray@s...>
  • Date: Fri, 7 Aug 2009 15:11:43 -0700

RE:  Wikipedia on XML
Hi Elliotte

I agree that XML is not a specification but conforms to a specification.
First sentence might be something like this...


XML(Extensible Markup Language) is a general set of rules for creating
custom data formats.  For example, you may create a custom data format for
Invoice data which looks like this:

   <customerName>Fred Smith</customerName>

This example is XML because it uses the element tag <invoice> and child
elements <date> and <customerName> to contain the actual date and
customerName data.


Objectives in this example are:

- introduce the concept and give an example right away - XML lends itself
well to examples..
- avoid less known terms like "SGML" and "Markup Languages" at the beginning
even tho XML is Extensible Markup Language.  This is a Wikipedia and should
allow some general public entry.

I disagree that Xml should be described as a subset of SGML.  That can be in
the history section.  SGML is history - in the present there is only HTML
serializations and XML.  Few people think of HTML as being an SGML
vocabulary.  This opinion is more of a hypothesis, not fully tested, but I
do swim in the current of programmers and content authors and I mention it
here with all due respect.


-----Original Message-----
From: Elliotte Rusty Harold [mailto:elharo@ibiblio.org] 
Sent: Friday, August 07, 2009 9:55 AM
To: Tim Bray
Cc: XML Developers List
Subject: Re:  Wikipedia on XML

The very first sentence now seems wrong:

XML (Extensible Markup Language) is a general-purpose specification
for creating custom markup languages

XML is most definitely *not* a specification. It is a document format?
defined by a specification, but the specification is not XML.

However I'm not sure what to say it *is*. A language? A grammar? A
document format? Perhaps we should just follow the XML spec spec: "The
Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a subset of SGML that is
completely described in this document." Thus the first couple of
paragraphs should be something like this:

XML (Extensible Markup Language) is a subset of SGML that is described
in a W3C Recommendation and used to create custom markup languages.
Markup languages that adhere to the lexical grammar and parsing
requirements in the XML specification are called XML applications.
Within the constraints of the specification, a markup-language
designer has significant freedom in naming and defining markup

XML has been used as the basis for a large number of custom-designed
languages. Some of these, for example RSS, Atom, SVG, XSLT, and XHTML,
have become widely used on the Internet. XML is also widely used as a
file format for office-productivity software packages, including
Microsoft Office, OpenOffice.org, AbiWord, and Apple's iWork. Many
configuration languages are based on XML including Ant, Java Servlets,
and ????. It is also commonly used to transfer machine readable data
between partners with heterogeneous systems; for instance, Federal
Express exchanges XML documents to coordinate shipments with

What do folks think?

Elliotte Rusty Harold


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