Your support for our advertisers helps cover the cost of hosting, research, and maintenance of this FAQ

The XML FAQ — Frequently-Asked Questions about the Extensible Markup Language

Section 1: Basics

Q 1.1: What is XML?

The Extensible Markup Language.

XML is the Extensible Markup Language. It improves the functionality of the Web by letting you identify your information in a more accurate, flexible, and adaptable way.

It is extensible because it is not a fixed format like HTML (which is a single, predefined markup language). Instead, XML is a metalanguage — a language for describing other languages — which lets you design your own markup languages for limitless different types of documents. XML can do this because it's written in SGML, the international standard metalanguage for text document markup (ISO 8879).