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A Simply Awesome Markup Language

The modern web developer has a variety of markup languages available for use in different contexts: XML, HTML, YAML, Markdown - the list goes on and on. Yet each has its limitation(s), whether that be performance, readability, or ease-of-use.

That all changes today with the introduction of the Syntactically Accurate Markup Language (SAML).

SAML is a human-readable markup language designed to be used in a variety of contexts - web, mobile, APIs, and so forth.

As the modern web moves away from desktop browsers and more towards "content anywhere, on any device", we need a markup language that supports that end.

The Premise of SAML

SAML is a straightforward, human-readable language. There are no tags, no attributes, no esoteric syntax. Words are what they mean; a new line is a new line; and punctuation is what it says it is.

To write SAML, you simply write.

SAML Example

As a concrete example, let's look at a list of items in SAML:


Now, let's compare the same list in HTML:


As you can see, SAML is clean, forthright, and syntactically accurate.

Special Symbols in SAML

As SAML is syntactically accurate, it supports all of the usual punctuation symbols. There are no hidden meanings.

Below is a summary of commonly-used punctuation marks and their equivalent in SAML:

Text Punctuation Mark SAML Equivalent
. .
, ,
! !
? ?
¿ ¿
¡ ¡
# #


Advantages of SAML

  1. Readability: In SAML, words and punctuation are used to create sentences. Sentences are used to create paragraphs. It's that simple.
  2. Performance: In the list example above, SAML is 37 bytes, compared to 92 bytes for HTML. That's a 248% increase in performance.
  3. Security: No Bobby Tables in SAML; a semicolon is just a semicolon.
  4. Device-independence: SAML is device-agnostic. Desktop browser, tablet, mobile phone, app, pen-and-paper - SAML works on them all.
  5. Backwards-Compatibility: SAML is compatible with all historical web browsers (only tested as far back as Mosaic 0.5) and mobile devices.
  6. Multilingual: SAML is language-independent. You can write SAML in any language you wish.

SAML Sounds Great - What Now?

At Stanford University, we are dedicated to finding solutions to big challenges. At Stanford Web Services, we believe in the power of open source, and releasing early and often.

Therefore, today we are announcing the open-source release of SAML 0.1. Learn more at