I was browsing at the local Kinokuniya bookstore yesterday, and I flipped through the O'Reilly book on FBML. Now I have no particular interest in FBML, but I was interested in that book steered clear of any issues relating to syntax. No mention of XML in the index, or in the introduction, yet it clearly used namespace prefixes and empty element syntax, so it looked like XML.
I wondered to myself if this represented some new stage of XML's ubiquity, where XML is such a given it does not even need to be stated, let alone explained. But looking through the FBML website has left me uncertain.
The FBML material never seems to say that it is XML: but it frequently talks of HTML: FBML is an evolved subset of HTML. Now there are things that definitely are spoken of as XML: for example it has a "DTD" (actually an XML Schema.) And there is something called XFBRL intended to be put in XHTML.
There are hints such as:
If you're formatting the tag as FBML, you don't need to use a closing tag. <fb:name uid="12345" />
If you're formatting the tag as XFBML for Facebook Connect,
you must use a closing tag.
As near as I can work out, FBML is designed to look like XML but not necessarily be well-formed. But I really don't know, because the documentation is interested in element and attribute names, not syntax. From that, I would guess either that there is some hedging of bets going on about formats, or that there is a single editor application that is being documented, which looks after the syntax.
Does any reader have any pointers to better information?
(By the way, I am quite sympathetic to the idea that XML's Draconian WF handling is excessive for user-oriented web documents, which the title of this piece may not make entirely clear.)