A markup language is
The term "markup"
is derived from the traditional publishing practice of "marking up"' a
manuscript, which involves adding handwritten annotations in the form
of conventional symbolic printer's instructions in the margins and text
of a paper manuscript or printed proof.
- a system for annotating a text in a way which is
syntactically distinguishable from that text. (wikipedia,
- a set of symbols and rules for their use when doing a
markup of a document. (WordNet Search)
- a formal way of annotating a document or
collection of digital data
using embedded encoding tags to indicate the structure of the document
or datafile and the contents of its data elements. (eGovernment Resource Center)
Taxonomy of Markup
There are three categories of electronic markup: presentational, procedural, and descriptive (Coombs et al., 1987):
- Presentational markup
- This category of markup is used by traditional word-processing
systems where binary codes embedded in document text to produce the
WYSIWYG effect. Such markup is usually designed to be hidden from human
users, even those who are authors or editors.
- Procedural markup
- In many text-processing systems, presentational markup is replaced by
procedural markup, which consists of commands indicating how text
should be formatted. Well-known examples include troff, LaTeX, and
- Descriptive markup
- Under the descriptive system of markup, authors identify the element
types of text tokens. This category of markup, often
described as "semantic," is used to label parts of the document rather
than to provide specific instructions as to how they should be
processed. Examples include SGML, HTML, XHTML, and XML.
(Source: Coombs et al., 1987)
- 1986 - The SGML
(Standard Generalized Markup
Language) was an ISO-standard (8879) technology for defining
generalized markup languages for documents.
- October 1991 - HTML
Tags, as an informal CERN (European Organization for Nuclear
Research) document and the first publicly available
HTML, was mentioned on the Internet by
- July 1992 - HTML DTD
1.1 was published. (DTD, "Document Type Definition"
or "DOCTYPE," is a set of markup declarations that
define a document type for SGML-family markup languages.)
- June 1993 - HTML
(Hypertext Markup Language), considered as an
application of SGML, was
defined by the Internet Engineering
Task Force (IETF).
- 1995 - HTML
2.0, completed by an HTML Working Group of the IETF,
first HTML specification intended to be treated as a standard for
- 1996 - IETF closed its HTML Working
Group, and the HTML specifications started to be maintained,
with input from commercial software vendors, by the World
- July 1996 - The first Working Draft of
an XML (Extensible Markup Language) specification
was published by the XML Working Group.
- January 1997 -
HTML 3.2 was published as the first
version developed and standardized exclusively by the W3C. (IETF closed
its HTML Working
Group in September 1996.)
- Math formulas dropped entirely.
- Various proprietary extensions reconciled.
- Most of Netscape's visual markup tags adopted.
- Netscape's blink element and Microsoft's marquee
element omitted as a mutual agreement between the two
- December 1997 - HTML 4.0,
initially code-named "Couga," was published with the purpose
to separate structure and presention. It offers
- Strict - in which deprecated elements
- Transitional - in which deprecated
elements are allowed,
- Frameset - in which mostly only frame
related elements are allowed.
- February 1998 - XML 1.0
became a W3C Recommendation.
- 1999 - HTML 4.01 was
published by W3C.
- 2000 - HTML became an
international standard (ISO/IEC
- January 2000 - XHTML (Extensible
Hypertext Markup Language) 1.0,
as a separate language and a reformulation of HTML 4.01 using XML 1.0,
was published as a W3C Recommendation.
- May 2001 - XHTML 1.1,
based on XHTML 1.0 Strict, was published as a W3C
- January 2008 - HTML 5,
aims to reduce the need for proprietary plug-in-based rich internet
application (RIA) technologies such as Adobe Flash, Microsoft
Silverlight, Apache Pivot, and Sun JavaFX, was published as a Working
Draft by the W3C.
- Coombs, Renear, and DeRose, Markup systems and
the future of scholarly text processing (November 1987), Communications
of the ACM.