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Why do we need markup languages?

  1. Oct 3, 2012 #1
    I just started HTML - and I am wondering why do we need it? We have software that can do all the style and marking-up jobs like ms-word so instead of writing the code why can't we use that?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 3, 2012 #2
    Have you tried creating a modern website using MS Word? Software like Dreamweaver, has come a long way, but there is still a ton of flexibility and customization ability in writing the code manually.

    fyi, even if you use Dreamweaver it still creates the HTML. It's how the browser reads the website.
  4. Oct 3, 2012 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    Until a few years ago, Microsoft Word's document format was proprietary, unlike HTML. Recent versions of Word use an XML-based document format. I don't know how easy or practical it would be for Web browsers to render it.

    In any event, Word isn't the only word processor out there (even if it is the 6,000,000 pound gorilla :rolleyes:) and it would be impractical for web browser developers to support multiple markup languages.
  5. Oct 3, 2012 #4
    I didn't really mean MS word - just meant that because we have software like those that can do customization in a graphical interface why do we still stick to codes?
  6. Oct 3, 2012 #5


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    As someone mentioned above you can use Dreamweaver to generate html documents. This is a GUI. It can make life much easier in many instances.

    Even so, you are still generating html code which can be understood by webbrowsers.

    Lets assume you wanted to use "Microsoft Word" or any other processor. You are still generating some kind of code from it that can be transferred from a webserver, and interpreted by webbrowsers.

    Without a markup language how is your webbrowser supposed to know where to place an image? Using a GUI environment does NOT remove the necessity of a markup language. It simply removes the necessity of physically coding it yourself.
  7. Oct 3, 2012 #6


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    Gold Member

    You can use software to do that. Lots of people do. For simple static pages it works just fine.

    However, Professional Web Developers need to know HTML. WYSIWYG just doesn't cut it for dynamic web applications for a lot of reasons.
  8. Oct 4, 2012 #7
    Thank you guys
  9. Oct 4, 2012 #8


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    Staff: Mentor

    I have a feeling you are missing a very important thing. Every text editor uses some internal format to keep track of the way your document is formatted. Just because it is hidden doesn't mean it doesn't exist - and when you think about its function it is just another markup language. Hidden, but it is there - so the answer to your question is "we need them, because without them we can't format documents".

    Sure, if you think about markup languages in terms of following XML ideas and specifications, you can argue that things like RTF or TeX are not markup languages - but in the general scheme of things they are.
  10. Oct 4, 2012 #9


    Staff: Mentor

    Markup languages are a means of flattening structured data so that it can be transmitted or stored intact and later resurrected into its original form. Structured data has metadata associated with the interconnect its parts such as ids and other attributes.

    Some interesting but discussion on the need for and uses of structured data are mentioned in this wikipedia article:

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