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W3C Standards

HTML 4.0 - HyperText Markup Language

HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is widely used on the Web for adding structure to text documents. Browsers interpret these documents, representing the structure in media-specific ways to the user. For example, visual browsers typically display the strong element (<strong> ... </strong>) as bold text, while text-to-speech readers might emphasize that text when pronouncing it.

With the help of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) the author may define how structural elements are to be represented, overriding the browser defaults.

XML 1.0 - Extensible Markup Language

Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a markup language like HTML, but instead of having a single, fixed set of elements, it allows you to define your own - or use a set made by someone else. It even allows using multiple sets within a single document - by using XML namespaces.

Some applications of XML, such as XHTML and MathML, have already become W3C Recommendations. Others are currently W3C Working Drafts.

Style sheet standards, such as CSS and XSL, offer a variety of options for specifying how XML elements are to be rendered. Standards-compliant support for direct rendering of XML is spotty in browsers, so for presenting information to humans, HTML (or XHTML) with CSS-driven styling is the way to go. XML is mostly used for machine-to-machine communication today.

XML is more flexible than HTML, primarily because of the ability to add your own elements and make your own structural systems. This makes it an ideal format for the organization of large quantities of data - it is already in use in many databases and search engines.

W3 standards

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Last modified on 27 june 2004

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