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Frequently Asked Questions


What is RecipeML?

RecipeML is a format for representing recipes on computer. It is based on the Extensible Markup Language (XML) and therefore is compatible across all computer platforms. RecipeML format recipes can be stored in plain text files and moved around the Internet with ease.

Who uses RecipeML?

Authors who create recipe files in the RecipeML format,
Webmasters who post the recipe files on a website,
Developers who create the software that works with RecipeML files, and
End Users who read, save, print, and use the recipes!

For a list of sites and software using or planning to use RecipeML right now, visit the Gallery of Applications.

How can I view a RecipeML recipe?

To view RecipeML format recipes in a web browser, you can use an XML compatible browser. Netscape Navigator 6, Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.x and Opera 4.0 can view XML files.

For a quick review of the current state of XML in browsers see the browser section This is a link to an external site of Peter Flynn's XML FAQ list This is a link to an external site.

There is a trio of good articles at XML.COM This is a link to an external site by Simon St. Laurent about the current capabilities of these browsers for viewing XML documents:

Another way is to use software that will allow you to create a "cookbook" database by importing RecipeML recipes. Various third parties from around the world have expressed interest in making this kind of program. Check the Gallery of Applications often for announcements of new software.

How do I create a RecipeML recipe?

To create RecipeML files, you can use any text editor. However, there are some XML-specific editors available. The advantage of these editors is that once the RecipeML DTD is loaded, the editor will make sure your RecipeML code is correct and compatible with any other software that uses the RecipeML DTD. (FormatData doesn't endorse any one of these editors over any other. See which one is right for you.)

Some XML Editors:

Also, by using a recipe program that supports the RecipeML format (see the gallery), you may be able to export a RecipeML file.

How can I propose changes to the DTD?

Anybody can make a suggestion for a change and submit it to FormatData. After the community at-large gets a chance to see the suggestions and make comments, FormatData will make the determination of whether a change will be made to the spec and what form it will take.

The best way for third parties to make suggestions for changes to RecipeML is on the Mailing List. Please feel free to become a member and post a message with any proposed changes.

I would like to use parts of the DTD or make my own changes to RecipeML. Can I?

Any party can use RecipeML for any use, just as long as the DTD remains whole and unchanged from the spec posted at this site. If you make any proprietary changes, you cannot use the name "RecipeML" for the altered format. This is to insure interoperability. If a third party wanted to make changes, they would have a format that might meet their needs, but it would not be fully interchangeable with other parties. It's in everyone's best interest to use the standard, final form of RecipeML.

Right now, the RecipeML spec is not finalized, so this is a good time to make suggestions for improvements. If a new feature has wide enough applicability, it will most likely be adopted. If the applicability of the feature is narrow, some other way to accommodate that functionality, such as an extension mechanism, will most likely be employed.

See the License for more details.

Where can I learn about XML?

The Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a system for creating languages to describe the contents of a document. In the case of RecipeML language, the documents are recipes. To learn more about XML, visit these sites:

A good starting place to learn about all things XML, This is a link to an external site

For the official spec, The World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) XML pages: This is a link to an external site

For everything you wanted to know about XML (and then some), Peter Flynn's XML Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) list:
 This is a link to an external site

Where can I learn about CSS and stylesheets?

RecipeML recipes, being XML files, can be styled for display by using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS1 and CSS2) and the Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL). To learn more visit:

The World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) Style pages: This is a link to an external site

And of course, the style section This is a link to an external site of Peter Flynn's XML Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) list.

Will there be an XML-Schema version of RecipeML?

There have been some requests for an XML-Schema representation of the RecipeML format. If there continues to be sufficient interest and time permits, FormatData will most likely produce one. If a third party would like to create one, FormatData will be happy to help verify it and post it on this site.

The World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) XML Schema pages: This is a link to an external site

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Last updated: 1 July 2001