Markup Declaration

Markup Declaration is a movement for clarifying and formalizing our understanding of declarative markup.

Declarative markup is the practice of identifying what information in a document is, typically separate from how it should be processed or presented. Declarative markup can be used to identify information semantically (this is a name, this is the name of a person, this is the name of a process, this is a step in a procedure, this portion of the document is related to the circulatory system), or structurally (this is a section, paragraph, list, item in a list).

Advantages of using declarative markup rather than processing or application specific markup include: the ability to do multiple things with the same information source without editing the source file; to have multiple presentation formats for the same content including visual and accessible presentations; to use the same documents in many different applications for different vendors; and to lengthen the time in which the documents are likely to be useable.

The time is ripe to explain declarative markup: for a few years, non-declarative technologies have been developed and over-promised and their limits have started to show.

While documents with declarative markup are often encoded in XML, XML vocabularies do not need to be declarative and declarative markup does not need to be in XML. The web is full of voices that champion clean, readable HTML documents styled with CSS. XML is a technology used by millions. Organizations, including publishing houses, manufacturers, insurance firms, healthcare providers, legal departments, ecommerce and government departments, as well as the academic fields of Digital Humanities and Corpus Linguistics – indeed, all areas requiring the reuse or long term preservation of information or that have open data policies – have as much need as ever for declarative markup.

We need a central space in which to discuss, work on, and work with these technologies.

Markup Declaration is a community espousing a philosophy of markup that enables platform and system independence. The community will offer training and instructional materials, a collaborative infrastructure for developing code, and a coherent, community-generated best-practice document for markup practitioners.

Your contribution is central to realising this vision. Whether you’re a markup veteran, or just starting to find out what markup has to offer you, we know that you have a lot to offer markup. We need philosophers, coders, writers, instructors, speakers, and – most of all – people who are willing to share their thoughts, ideas, and experiences.

Without you, there’s no community; without community, there’s no Markup Declaration.

If you’re interested in finding out more, contact us, or join in the conversation!