XML stands for eXtensible Markup Language. It is computer markup language that is about a decade old. It has become ubiquitous in numerous new web-based technologies including weblogs, RSS/Atom web feeds and content syndication, XHTML (the successor to HTML), as well as a growing number of markup languages used to describe a variety of structured information. Such information includes vector drawings, mathematical formula, musical compositions and more.
XML is a sibling of HTML (HyperText Markup Language), which is used for web pages in general. Both are derived from an older language called SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language), which in turn is derived from IBM’s GML (Generalized Markup Language). XML was essentially designed to be the webified version of SGML, which was used to add structure to large text documents.
Some people consider XML the backbone of weblogging and the blogosphere for several reasons:
- XML spawned XHTML, and XHTML is used to markup the entries in a weblog for most blogging platforms.
- RSS, Atom, and RDF are three XML file formats used for web feeds and content syndication, of which weblogs are the most well-known application.
- OPML is another XML format which essentially acts like a bookmark list of web feed URLs, which are typically associated with weblogs.
The XML specification, which is a W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) standard, was co-authored by several people including Tim Bray, who also co-founded OpenText Corporation, a Waterloo, Canada-based technology company who offered one of the very first Internet search engines ever, the OTI (OpenText Index), now defunct. (OpenText currently shares an office building with RIM, makers of the ever-popular Blackberry PDA.)
The company focused on solutions for structuring large quantities of text for the purpose of being able to later search said text content. While SGML was fine for offline solutions, it was too bulky for Internet use. Hence, XML was born.
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