Markup Language

2009/11/08 at 10:18 pm Utzi iruzkina

A markup language is a way of codifying a document which, along with the text, incorporates tags or marks which contain additional information about the structure of the text or its presentation.  The most extended markup language is the HTML, World Wide Web’s base. But apart from that one, there are also others which are important to mention: GenCode, TeX, Scribe, GML, SGML, XML and XHTML. Markup languages are often muddled up with programming languages. However, the latter, has arithmetical functions. Historically, the markup was used in the industry of editorial and communication, as well as among authors, editors and printers.

Otherwise, we can find different types of markup: presentational, procedural, descriptive, referential, metamarkup and punctuational.

  • Presentational: This type indicates the format of the text. It is used to make up the presentation of a certain document for its lecture.
  • Procedural: it is focused towards the presentation of the text. However, it is also visible for the user who edits the text. The program which represents the document must interpret the code in the same order in which appears. Some of the examples of the procedural type of markup are: nroff, troff, TeX and PostScript.
  • Descriptive: it uses tags for describing the different fragments of the text. But we have to take into account that they do not specify how they must be represented and organized. The languages that are designed for generating descriptive markup are the following: SGML and XML.
  • Punctuational: it is centered in the utilization of a closed collection of marks. Its objective is to give above all, syntactic information about written statements.
  • Referential: this type alludes to entities which are external to the document. During the process, it is substituted by those entities. Besides, it is also used for device-dependent punctuation and for abbreviations. Finally, we have to bear in mind that it also alludes to entities which are stored in different computing systems.
  • Metamarkup: it gives to authors and support personnel a easiness to control the decodification of markup and to spread the vocabulary of descriptive markup languages.

To end up with this article, I will make a comment referring to Web Style Sheets:

They tell us how documents are displayed on screens, in print, etc.  The Web Style Sheets offer many advantages. They are designed independently from the HTML document, they can be applied to any document we want. This enables the consistence and the homogeneity on the design and the image of the web page. Otherwise, the Web Style Sheets can be adapted to the different means of documents presentation. The user also has the possibility to choose the type of design which he/she prefers to visualize in the same document. Another advantage is that the loading time of the web pages on the computer is reduced.


.Lenguaje de marcado. (2009 September 27). In Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved 13:00, November 08, 2009, from:

.Markup systems and the Future of Scholarly Text Processing. By James H. Coombs, Allen H. Renear and Steven J. DeRose. In Cover Pages, Online resource for markup language technologies. Retrieved 13:32, November 08, 2009, from:

.Web Style Sheets. (2009 October 12). By Bert Bos. In W3C. Retrieved 14:29, November 08, 2009, from:

.Hojas de estilo (CSS). (2009 September 07). By María Jesús Lamarca Lapuente. In Hiper Texto. Retrieved 14:46, November 08, 2009, from :


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