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Comparison of document markup languages

Updated: 2016-04-19T05:45Z

The following tables compare general and technical information for a number of document markup languages. Please see the individual markup languages' articles for further information.

General information

Basic general information about the markup languages: creator, version, etc.

LanguageCreatorFirst public release dateEditorViewer
AsciiDocStuart Rackham2002Text editorOutput to XHTML, HTML, DocBook (which can convert to PDF, EPUB, DVI, LaTeX, roff, and Postscript)
Computable Document FormatWolfram Research2010Wolfram Language & MathematicaCDF Player; CDF format can also be embedded in web pages viewable with conventional browsers.
Creole2007Text editorOutput to HTML, RTF, LaTeX, others; renderers for MFC, others.
Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA)IBM, OASIS2005Text/XML editorOutput to HTML, PDF, CHM, javadoc, others.
DocBookThe Davenport Group, OASIS1992XML editorOutput to HTML, PDF, CHM, javadoc, others.
Encoded Archival Description (EAD)Berkeley Project1998Text editorWeb browser
Extensible HyperText Markup Language (XHTML)W3C2000 (January 26)Text/XML editor, HTML editorWeb browser
HyperText Markup Language (HTML)Tim Berners-Lee1993Text editor, HTML editorWeb browser
LilyPondHan-Wen Nienhuys, Jan Nieuwenhuizen1996Text editor, ScorewriterOutput to DVI, PDF, PostScript, PNG, others.
Maker Interchange Format (MIF)Frame Technology acquired by Adobe Systems in 19951986Text editor, FrameMakerFrameMaker
MakeDocCarl Sassenrath2000Text editorWeb browser (XHTML or HTML output)
MarkdownJohn Gruber and Aaron Swartz2004Text editor, E-mail clientWeb browser (XHTML or HTML output), preview in gedit-markdown-plugin
TextileDean Allen2002[1]Text editorWeb browser (XHTML or HTML output), reference and tester (uses latest PHP-Textile version 3.5.5)
Math Markup Language (MathML)W3C1999 (July)Text/XML editor, TeX converterWeb browser, Word processor
The Music Encoding Initiative (MEI)The MEI Community1999XML editorVerovio
Music Extensible Markup Language (MusicXML)Recordare2002ScorewriterScorewriter
Office Open XML (OOXML)Ecma International, ISO/IEC2006Office suiteOffice suite
OpenDocument Format (ODF)OASIS, ISO/IEC2005Office suiteOffice suite
Open Mathematical Documents (OMDoc)Michael Kohlhase2000Text/XML editor[2]Output to XHTML+MathML, TeX, others.
Org-modeOrg-mode project2003Emacs, text editorEmacs. Output to HTML, PDF, DocBook, FreeMind, OpenDocument Format (ODF), others.
reStructuredTextDavid_Goodger2001[3]Text editorOutput to HTML, LaTeX, PDF, Unix man pages, ODT, S5 (HTML Slide Shows), XML, others.
Rich Text Format (RTF)Microsoft1987Text editor, Word processorWord processor
Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG)W3C2004Vector graphics editorWeb browser, etc.
ScriptIBM1968Text editorGDDM, AFP viewer
TeXDonald Knuth1978Text editorDVI or Portable Document Format (PDF) converter
TexinfoRichard Stallman1986Text editoroutput to DVI, Portable Document Format (PDF), HTML, DocBook, others.
Text Encoding Initiative (TEI)Text Encoding Initiative Consortium1990Text/XML editorWeb Browser (using XHTML), PDF, Word Processor (using ODF) or EPUB
troff (typesetter runoff), groff (GNU runoff)Joe Ossanna1973Text editorgroffer, or output to PostScript
Wireless Markup Language (WML)WAP Forum1999Text/XML editorMicrobrowser
LanguageCreatorFirst public release dateEditorViewer


Some characteristics of the markup languages.

LanguageMajor purposeBased onMarkup typeStructural markupPresentational markup[4]
Computable Document FormatInteractive technical documents, infographics, blogs[5]Wolfram LanguageTagYesYes
Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA)Technical documentsXMLTagYesYes[6]
DocBookTechnical documentsSGML / XMLTagYesYes[7]
Encoded Archival Description (EAD)Finding aidsXMLTagYesNo
Extensible HyperText Markup Language (XHTML)Hypertext documentsXMLTagYesYes[8]
HyperText Markup Language (HTML)Hypertext documentsSGMLTagYesYes[9]
LilypondMusic notationControl codeYesYes
Maker Interchange Format (MIF)Technical documentsTagYesYes
MarkdownFormatted Technical documents, Hypertext documents, E-mailText E-mail conventionsTagYesYes
Math Markup Language (MathML)Mathematical documentsXMLTagYesYes[10]
The Music Encoding Initiative (MEI)Music notationXMLTagYesYes
Music Extensible Markup Language (MusicXML)Music notationXMLTagYesYes
Office Open XML (OOXML)Multi-purposeXML / ZIPTagYesYes
OpenDocument Format (ODF)Multi-purposeXML / ZIPTagYesYes
Open Mathematical Document (OMDoc)Mathematical documentsXMLTagYes[11]Yes[12]
Org-modeMulti-purpose (notes, project management, publishing, literate programming)Text outlinerTagYesYes
reStructuredTextTechnical and Multi-purpose documents[13]Structured Text and SetextTagYesYes[14]
Rich Text Format (RTF)Formatted documentsTeXPattern parsingYesYes
Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG)2D Vector graphicsXMLTagYesYes
ScriptMulti-purposeRUNOFFControl codeYesYes
TeXAcademic documentsControl codeYesYes
TexinfoTechnical documentsTeX, ScribeControl codeYesYes
TextileHypertext documentsAsciiDoc (based on some similarities and dates of release)TagYesYes
Text Encoding Initiative (TEI)Academic, linguistic, literary and technical documentsSGML / XMLTagYesNo
troff (typesetter runoff), groff (GNU runoff)Technical documentsRUNOFFControl codeYesYes
Wireless Markup Language (WML)Hypertext documentsXMLTagYesYes
LanguageMajor purposeBased onMarkup typeStructural markupPresentational markup


  1. ^
  2. ^ An Emacs mode and a Mozilla extension are available.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Many markup languages have purposely avoided presentational markups. For markup languages based on SGML and XML, CSS is used as a presentation layer.
  5. ^ Uses and Examples of the Computable Document Format (CDF),
  6. ^ Includes basic presentational content and SVG and MathML markup, officially supported in version 1.3. In select XML editors and management systems, the images and content can be viewed as rendered, through CSS mostly.
  7. ^ Presentational content is supported through SVG and MathML markup. In select XML editors, the images can be viewed as rendered.
  8. ^ Presentational markup is deprecated as of XHTML 1.0 and no longer allowed as of XHTML 1.1
  9. ^ Presentational markup is deprecated as of HTML 4.0
  10. ^ MathML comes in two mark-up syntaxes: a semantic and a presentational.
  11. ^ uses Content MathML, OpenMath or other formats for formulae
  12. ^ Exact presentation of symbols can be specified in OMDoc; these specifications are used when transforming OMDoc to a presentational format.
  13. ^
  14. ^ uses CSS

See also

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