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25.1. Background

Although XML is a markup language like HTML, a common misconception is that XML is HTML on steroids. XML and HTML are related, but through a common parent, SGML, Standard General Markup Language. SGML is a meta-language—a comprehensive set of syntax rules for marking up documents and data. For information on SGML, including its history, see http://www.www.sil.org/sgml/, and specifically, http://www.sil.org/sgml/general.html.#hist.

When the creators of the Web needed a markup language that told browsers how to display web content, they used SGML guidelines to create HTML. HTML was designed specifically for displaying content in a browser, but isn't good for much else.


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