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Markup Language

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Note: Many topics at this site are reduced versions of the text in "The Encyclopedia of Networking and Telecommunications." Search results will not be as extensive as a search of the book's CD-ROM.

A markup language defines how documents should be formatted. In this sense, it is a metalanguage-a language that describes a formatting and markup language. The term "markup" is historically based on the marks made by copy editors to pages that indicate how they should be formatted and typeset. In the early days of computer typesetting, there were many different typesetting systems, and each used its own proprietary markup language. This language consisted of special control characters to indicate the beginning and end of some formatting. The markups were so obscure that users quickly realized a standard markup language was needed to reduce confusion. That led to SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language). HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) is a markup language that defines hypertext, a markup language that defines jumps to different parts of a document or, in a hypermedia environment like the Web, to other documents.

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