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RE: Wikipedia on XML

  • From: "Michael Kay" <mike@saxonica.com>
  • To: "'Elliotte Rusty Harold'" <elharo@ibiblio.org>,"'Tim Bray'" <Tim.Bray@s...>
  • Date: Fri, 7 Aug 2009 22:17:53 +0100

RE:  Wikipedia on XML
> 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." 

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.

I think the answer "XML is a specification" is not a bad one. More
accurately, it's a set of rules contained in a specification, but I think
that's over-pedantic for the first sentence of an article for the general

Though personally, the expansion of the initialism XML claims that XML is a
language, and I've always been quite happy with that. It might be a
meta-language, but a meta-language is itself a language.


Michael Kay

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