Markup language

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A markup language is a modern system for annotating a text in a way that is syntactically distinguishable from that text. The idea and terminology evolved from the "marking up" of manuscripts, i.e. the revision instructions by editors, traditionally written with a blue pencil on authors' manuscripts. Examples are typesetting instructions such as those found in troff and LaTeX, and structural markers such as XML tags. Markup is typically omitted from the version of the text which is displayed for end-user consumption. Some markup languages, like HTML have presentation semantics, meaning their specification prescribes how the structured data is to be presented, but other markup languages, like XML, have no predefined semantics.

A well-known example of a markup language in widespread use today is HyperText Markup Language (HTML), one of the document formats of the World Wide Web. HTML is mostly an instance of SGML (though, strictly, it does not comply with all the rules of SGML) and follows many of the markup conventions used in the publishing industry in the communication of printed work between authors, editors, and printers.



There are three general categories of electronic markup: Presentational, procedural, and descriptive.[1][2]

  • Presentational markup is that used by traditional word-processing systems, binary codes embedded in document text that produced the WYSIWYG effect. Such markup is usually designed to be hidden from human users, even those who are authors or editors.
  • Procedural markup is embedded in text and provides instructions for programs that are to process the text. Well-known examples include troff, LaTeX, and PostScript; it is expected that the processor runs through the text from beginning to end, following the instructions as encountered. Text with such markup is often edited with the markup visible and directly manipulated by the author. Popular procedural-markup systems usually include programming constructs, such that macros or subroutines can be defined and invoked by name.

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