Is there any existing in-use, or even just conceptual attempts at creating a markup or programmatic expressions for designing the layouts of websites other than HTML/CSS?

If there are others out there and they do not appear to be in heavy use. Why is this?

We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

closed as not a real question by Jim G., Walter, gnat, Thomas Owens Dec 3 '12 at 15:33

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  • 3
    Are you asking for a non-HTML web browser? How would that work? – S.Lott Mar 1 '11 at 20:23
  • @S.Lott I'm asking for an approach to put graphics on the screen that aren't heavily reliant on HTML/CSS. For example, Flash (as Martin answered) has been used widely to do this. In theory, we could do something with SVG, or have a middle layer (server or client side) that generates the HTML/CSS from a separate set of instructions (similar to galador's answer, but I believe HAML and SASS are for HTML templates and CSS, not entire websites in general). Etc. Perhaps a different MIME type that allows interactivity. Things that were just in theory, or things that are reality. – Incognito Mar 1 '11 at 20:37
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    "aren't heavily reliant on HTML/CSS"? Please update the question to specify what you're talking about. "alternative" and "not heavily reliant" seem like very different things. – S.Lott Mar 2 '11 at 0:08
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    @jhocking Why not ask it? Why bother thinking of other ways to do things when one exists? Once upon a time there were other proposals for style sheets and document formats. – Incognito Jan 27 '12 at 18:19
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    @jhocking It's practical (people have done prior work here), it's answerable(there's lots of answers already), and it's an actual problem I'm facing: alternative means to describe web documents than using HTML parsers and CSS layout engines. I want to find prior work before creating something else. – Incognito Jan 27 '12 at 18:59

Moderator note: this is intended to be a canonical list; please check to see if your suggestion has already been added to the answer. If it hasn't, edit the answer to add yours preferably with an explanation or reason why you're suggesting it.

Possible alternatives:

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    HAML and SASS compile down to HTML and CSS, so I'm not sure they're valid options here. – sevenseacat Jan 28 '12 at 13:21
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    The problem with most of those is the content is not discoverable by search engines. – Rob Dec 2 '12 at 13:50
  • Should x-tags be in this list? – Florian Margaine Dec 3 '12 at 7:38
  • There are html and css frameworks that are extremely relevant to this question even though they compile into html css, view: bem, oocss, mvcss, less, smacss, stylus – Sam Adams Aug 8 '14 at 6:43

HAML and SASS are not alternatives to HTML. They are server-side languages that create HTML output. AXR is an alternative to HTML in the making. The AXR site says if you want to help out you can http://axr.vg. GRML is also an alternative to HTML, although I am not advocating to use it or not to use it. I am merely stating a fact. It hasn't been updated in 8 years and doesn't support any browsers but it's own. http://www.codeproject.com/Articles/3486/An-alternative-to-HTML-and-current-web-browsers

  • axr is a dead link. – jiggunjer Sep 5 '17 at 6:13

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