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XML markup


My name is Extensible Markup Language. I am more commonly known as XML. I am a web standard. I first appeared on the World Wide Web scene in 1996. As you might recall, the World Wide Web (WWW) was created in 1989 by Tim Berners-Lee and was implemented in 1990.

I am used to describe data. I can be any type of data, and I can be any type of description. I have to be written or laid out in a structured manner. To facilitate my use, I come in a variety of flavors or vocabularies.

My greatest asset or utility lies in my structure. I am universally understood by all computer systems. I am considered to be an input-once but output-many type of markup language, which means I can be taken from my native (XML) format and transformed into several other formats such as audio, print, and display. I excel as a backend, behind-the-scene medium of data exchange. To be sure, one of my most common uses is as a uniform method for businesses to exchange data. I also am commonly used as the backend or behind-the-scenes conduit for displaying data feeds from disparate sources over the World Wide Web.

My greatest liability or hindrance is that humans do not find me fun to read. I am somewhat hard on the eyes when I am displayed in my native format. Moreover, it is not always a simple feat to make me interactive or dynamic for front-end World Wide Web use. When I am transformed for the World Wide Web, I sometimes encounter browser compatibility issues. It sometimes can be quite cumbersome for humans to get me to display as HTML in all web browsers.

Because I am not friendly for humans eyes to read, humans wanted to know how best could they transform me, manipulate me, and make me more human-friendly, for instance, on the World Wide Web. As a result, my companion tools were born. Helper tools were developed to make me more human-friendly. Document definition schemes (DTD and XSD) and namespaces (URIs) were devised, in part, to more easily map my data to disparate computer systems to be used with disparate computer applications. Style sheets (XSLT and XSL-FO) were devised to display me in more eye-pleasing and human-friendly types of ways. Query languages (XPath and XQuery) were devised to manipulate me in more sophisticated types of ways. My helper tools added muscles, skin, and hair on my skeleton, so to speak.

Although, as of 2015, the World Wide Web remains in its infancy stage of development, I am one of its oldest standards. The following timeline, which is not comprehensive, shows where I fit into the broader scheme of things when it comes to markup languages and web standards. The timeline begins in 1989 and runs through 2015 for a span of 26 years. As a matter of fact, I am working behind the scenes this very moment. As an externally stored XML file, I am the culprit who is feeding or populating the following timeline with its data.

Sources for Timeline version :

I was designed to be a technology that would not become outdated. I was designed to be a technology that would not go out of style. I was designed to be a technology that would withstand the test of time. As is typically the case with the World Wide Web, change is the one thing that is constant. On the World Wide Web, change is inevitable or is guaranteed to occur. Before my arrival on the scene, there was the plain ASCII text file. Before my arrival, disparate computer systems more commonly relied on the (CSV-formatted) plain ASCII text file as a common data source. I came along and eclipsed the plain ASCII text file in popularity. I became the data format of choice on the World Wide Web.

Yet, someone is always out to build a better mouse trap, so to speak. Some humans began to exclaim, "This XML-related stuff is too complicated to learn. There has got to be an easier way to display dynamic or interactive data on the World Wide Web." Some humans found it to be rather cumbersome to use XSLT and XPath to display me interactively on the World Wide Web. Moreover, right from the start, I was plagued with web browser compatibility issues when it came to transforming me in web browsers. Humans began searching for alternatives to me. Was the handwriting on the wall for me? Was this the beginning of the end for me? Were there more robust and versatile alternatives to using me?

Human proceeded to devise new approaches to supersede me as a World Wide Web tool. For instance, in conjunction with the World Wide Web, they began using CSS on the backend as a replacement for my native approach of using XSLT to display my data on the front-end World Wide Web. And, when it came to manipulating me on the World Wide Web, humans resorted to using alternative tools such as Perl (1987), JavaScript (1995), PHP (1995), and jQuery (2006) as replacements for my homebred, native, and X-driven approaches such as XPath.

The table below uses a poem by John Wilbye to illustrate how I (XML) am and how one of my colleagues (HTML) is used to display data in a web browser on the World Wide Web. The middle column of the table shows how the poem actually looks on the World Wide Web. The far left column of the table shows how I (XML) am used behind the scenes to display the poem. The far right column of the table shows how HTML is used behind the scenes to display the same poem. You will notice in the table below that I (XML) require a bit more markup to achieve the same effect or output in a web browser (as shown in the middle column of the table) when compared to using HTML. It was for verbose reasons such as the illustration below which led some to wonder if a less complicated approach than me existed to display data in a browser on the World Wide Web.

XML versus HTML

<title>Love Not Me For Comely Grace</title>
<author>John Wilbye (1574 - 1638)</author>
<line>Love not me for comely grace,</line>
<line>For my pleasing eye or face;</line>
<line>Nor for any outward part,</line>
<line>No, nor for my constant heart:</line>
<line>For those may fail or turn to ill,</line>
<line>So thou and I shall sever.</line>
<line>Keep therefore a true woman's eye,</line>
<line>And love me still, but know not why;</line>
<line> So hast thou the same reason still</line>
<line>To doat upon me ever.</line>
<xsl:template match="poem">
<title><xsl:value-of select="title"/></title>
<xsl:apply-templates select="title"/>
<xsl:apply-templates select="author"/>
<xsl:apply-templates select="stanza"/>
<xsl:template match="title">
<div align="center"><h1><xsl:value-of select="."/></h1></div>
<xsl:template match="author">
<div align="center"><h2>By <xsl:value-of select="."/></h2></div>
<xsl:template match="stanza">
<p><xsl:apply-templates select="line"/></p>
<xsl:template match="line">
<xsl:if test="position() mod 5 = 0">      </xsl:if>
<xsl:if test="position() mod 6 = 0">      </xsl:if>
<xsl:if test="position() mod 9 = 0">     </xsl:if>
<xsl:if test="position() mod 10 = 0"></xsl:if>
<xsl:value-of select="."/><br/>

Love Not Me For Comely Grace

By John Wilbye (1574 - 1638)

Love not me for comely grace,
For my pleasing eye or face;
Nor for any outward part,
No, nor for my constant heart:
      For those may fail or turn to ill,
      So thou and I shall sever.
Keep therefore a true woman's eye,
And love me still, but know not why;
      So hast thou the same reason still
      To doat upon me ever.

<div align="center">
<h1>Love Not Me For Comely Grace</h1>
<div align="center">
<h2>By John Wilbye (1574 - 1638)</h2>
Love not me for comely grace,<br>
For my pleasing eye or face;<br>
Nor for any outward part,<br>
No, nor for my constant heart:<br>
      For those may fail or turn to ill,<br>
      So thou and I shall sever.<br>
Keep therefore a true woman's eye,<br>
And love me still, but know not why;<br>
      So hast thou the same reason still<br>
      To doat upon me ever.<br>

Humans have gone so far as to devise new approaches to challenge my very existence as a data format. One of my chief antagonists is JSON (1999). Another one of my rivals is YAML (2001). The idea behind the creation of these alternative data formats was to provide website developers with new tools to more efficiently accomplish the same backend or behind-the-scenes chore of displaying (dynamic or interactive) data in a browser on the front-end World Wide Web.

The following example shows how jQuery is used to display a filterable, interactive list of awards. The selected awards were to confer recognition and bestow honor to the winners for having demonstrated higher standards of excellence in their respective fields of endeavor. The point of the filterable list is this: The jQuery approach to filtering is accomplished much more easily than I could have accomplished by using my native XSLT and XPath companions.

Year | Award (type) | CATEGORY | Title | Winner/Recognized (role)

Sources for List of Award Winners:

In a World Wide Web environment of constant and rapid change, I am very cognizant of the fact that some technologies survive while others fall by the wayside. Time will tell whether I will survive these technological advances or whether I will fall by the wayside and become extinct. I think that I have a promising future ahead of me especially on the data backend. I don't think that humans will completely abandon or discard me.

This is XML signing off. It was nice chatting with you. Good-bye for now. I'll be seeing you on the World Wide Web—in one form or another whether on the backend or the front-end. Happy surfing.


In this discussion of XML, web standards, and technological advances, it is only fitting for me (as author and not as XML speaking) to close this page by paying tribute to human self-worth, human dignity, and human self-improvement. The following bloc of songs/videos is meant to inspire humans to raise the bar of daily living to ever higher standards. The following bloc of songs/videos is meant to motivate humans to elevate their conduct to the highest ethical plane. The future is all about humans having positive and forward-thinking mind-sets. The future is all about humans choosing wisely. The future is all about humans finding inner peace and dedicating themselves to live in harmony with one another, with other life forms, and with the physical Earth. The Age of Homo Sapiens Sapiens is all about human survival and prosperity along with a very good quality of physiological and psychological life for all. After all, who doesn't want to be happy and healthy in life?

To be sure, generally speaking, in Western culture, the accumulation of material comforts—ideally, with minimal debt burden—commonly is viewed as one of the hallmarks of success and happiness in life. In Western civilization, often success and happiness are equated with how much money you amass and by how luxuriously you live. In contrast, on the "A Perfect World" page of this website, I introduced a Nobody-Anybody-Everybodyism way of life [for humans living in deep space] whereby citizens are judged by how modestly they live instead of being judged by how much they are able to consume.

How do you accumulate material comforts along with the basic necessities of food, clothing, and shelter? The answer is that you accumulate material comforts and the basic necessities of life with money. As a consequence, some humans are willing to do almost anything to acquire money. Regrettably, whether due to societal shortcomings, personal shortcomings, or some combination of both, far too many humans find themselves turning to illicit, unlawful, and sordid activities to attain money—including committing acts of torture and murder. But, if focused and committed to ceasing it, I think that a career niche exists for everyone on Earth (see, for instance, the "Prosperity for All" page of this website). Going forward into the future, a goal for all humans should be to achieve something positive and constructive in life whether academic, vocational, artistic, athletic, entrepreneurial, or whatever. Hatred, violence, degradation, intolerance, disrespect, murder, and so forth, are not the ways for humans to proceed into the future.

Watch (McCoy Tyner featuring Phyllis Hyman, In Search Of My Heart)

Watch (Patrice Rushen, Hang It Up)

Watch (Joe Sample featuring Take 6, U Turn)

Watch (Earth, Wind & Fire, Turn It Into Something Good)

Watch (Barry White, Change)

Watch (The Isley Brothers, Climbin' Up the Ladder, Pts. 1 & 2)

Watch (Commodores, This Is Your Life)

Watch (Earth, Wind & Fire, Devotion)

Watch (Earth, Wind & Fire, Keep Your Head To The Sky)

Watch (Stevie Wonder, I Go Sailing)

Watch (Earth, Wind & Fire, Take It To The Sky)

Watch (Minnie Riperton, The Edge Of A Dream)

Watch (The Beatles, Here Comes The Sun)

Watch (Jill Scott, Blessed)

Watch (Pharrell Williams, Happy)

Heart-Shaped Earth



Intellectual Property Disclosures: All videos and songs (as well as many of the images) referenced or spotlighted throughout this website are the legal and intellectual properties of others. All content and opinions on this website () are those of the author (Edward Bruessard) exclusively and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the contributors, creators, owners, and distributors of these referenced videos, songs, and images. The author holds no legal interest or financial stake in any of these referenced videos, songs, and images. The contributors, creators, owners, and distributors of these referenced videos, songs, and images played no role at all regarding the appearance of said videos, songs, and images throughout this website; they had no clue that this website would be spotlighting their works.

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