XML: Extensible Markup Language Essay

XML: Extensible Markup Language Essay

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XML: Extensible Markup Language

The World Wide Web is in the process of undergoing a radical change that allows new services and opportunities to businesses and individuals. HTML - the HyperText Markup Language - is a language that is predominately used to generate most of the web sites available today. Now, however, Extensible Markup Language is in the process of replacing HyperText Markup Language as the most favored format. Extensible Markup Language will allow the use and functionality of the web to continue to expand.

Extensible Markup Language is based on Standard Generalized Markup Language. First, what is Standard Generalized Markup Language?

Both HTML (HyperText Markup Language) and XML (Extensible Markup Language) are based on SGML - Standard Generalized Markup Language. Standard Generalized Markup Language has been an international standard since 1986 (ISO 8879). It is a meta-language, which simply means that it can be used to create other languages.

Standard Generalized Markup Language is a descendent from earlier markup languages first developed at IBM as early as 1969. The oldest direct ancestor is GML, which both stands for General Markup Language and contains the initials of the IBM researchers who created it: Charles F. Goldfarb, Edward Mosher, and Raymond Lorie.

Standard Generalized Markup Language is a far more extensive markup language than Extensible Markup Language or HyperText Markup Language, and to this day remains as the ultimate language in the field. The ultimate goal and success of Standard Generalized Markup Language is that it conquered the computer-age old problem of being able to communicate across different computer platforms. It allows computers to share and communicate data regardless of the computer’s hardware, operating system, or software applications being used. Applications such as Adobe Framemaker use it for desktop publishing. But, in general, Standard Generalized Markup Language is considered much too complex for widespread e-business and other similar applications. A need for a new language to handle the new demands of the e-business world became clear. The designers of Extensible Markup Language were looking to generate a markup language that would allow the functionality of Standard Generalized Markup Language without the complexity. By strategically omitting large chunks of St...

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...p Language. The difference in quality will be enormous. It is also estimated that beyond the web, Extensible Markup Language will be felt along the lines of standardization of data interchange formats. In other words, in the effort to standardize data names in like areas of business, the same standardization could be used worldwide for applications outside of Extensible Markup Language’s spectrum. Extensible Markup Language could improve efficiency in all respects of data exchange.

With companies like Microsoft, IBM, Dow Chemical Co., DuPont, BASF, and a plethora of others working together to develop standards, the future of Extensible Markup Language and data interchange is bright!


Goldfarb, Charles F. “XML in an Instant: A Non-geeky Introduction.” Oasis. October 1999.

Gonsalves, Antone. “XML Translation Wares Are On The Way.” eWEEK. January 2000.

Halfhill, Tom. “XML: The Next Big Thing.” IBM Research Magazine. October 2000.

Rohan, Rebecca. “New Wild Life In The XML Menagerie.” Sm@rt Partner. February 2000.

Schindler, Esther. “Exposing XML Myths.” Sm@rt Partner. May 2000.

Walsh, Jeff. “XML: Not Just for the Web Anymore.” InfoWorld. June 1998.

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