XML Turns 25 Today
Written by Kay Ewbank   
Friday, 10 February 2023

XML (Extensible Markup Language) is 25 years old today. XML was first published as a W3C Recommendation on February 10th 1998, and became ubiquitous in standards such as XSLT and XQuery.

At XML's tenth anniversary, multiple sites ran major news items about it, and even at its 15th anniversary Jean Paoli, co-creator of XML 1.0, posted a happy birthday video on the MSDN blog, and said that he'd never have dreamt that XML would be so successful in the dream of exchanging information freely between different platforms.


This anniversary has received fewer fanfares. The W3C hasn't put out a news announcement or anything on its blog. Poor old XML.

If you're too young to remember the excitement XML engendered, the short description is that it's very similar to HTML, understandably so as they both stem from same base technology - SGML Standard Generalized Markup Language. XML was designed to be both human and machine readable and was criticized for being verbose and the opposite of compact for packaging data. It is still a key underpinning of open document standards within office applications, but developers have largely moved on to using JSON in place of XML because of its ease of use, particularly if you are working in JavaScript. However, XML devotees point to its powerful schema facility as a reason why it can still be preferable to JSON.

It's worth remembering that in many ways XML succeeded in what it set out to do providing a system independent markup language and file format for storing, transmitting, and reconstructing data so that the format can be read both by a machine and a human. If that seems something not worth worrying about, XML has done its job. Yes, everyone got over excited about it, but it did work.

To learn more about XML see: Programmer's Introduction to XML


More Information


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Programmer's Introduction to XML

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Last Updated ( Friday, 10 February 2023 )