What is TAO?

TAO (Tree Annotation Operator) is a minimal syntax, akin to S-expressions that is used to build simple and compatible (sharing the same parser) notations for data (intended for the same purposes as JSON), markup (intended for the same purposes as XML/HTML), code, and various other domain-specific applications.

TAO is based on an extremely simple grammar that encodes only the most generic syntactical constructs: trees (for creating structures), annotations (for encoding primitives associated with the structures), and operators (for escaping and auxiliary purposes).

The idea of TAO is to introduce a very simple and generic universal syntax, on top of which similarly universal notations can be built, standardized, and reused, dramatically reducing the need for countless fundamentally unnecessary translations between incompatible formats. As a consequence making all software that uses TAO more cross-compatible and intercommunicated and the writers and users of this software happy, free, and capable of achieving more.


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