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What Does YML (YAML) Mean? A Quick Explanation

This is your quick guide to understanding yaml in less than 90 seconds! Commonly used by a number of big names, Docker compose files are written in YAML. Learn more about this data serialization language here.

Michael Nicholson

Michael Nicholson

Cloud Solution Engineer

Our quick answers series is here to deliver easy, speedy answers to some of the most common cloud tech queries. Today, we’ll be covering what YML (YAML) is.

What does YML mean?

Quick Answers: What does YML mean?

When YAML was released in 2001, it stood for Yet Another Markup Language. Markup language being metadata intended for annotating documents. HTML is an example of markup language, as is XML—eXtensible Markup Language. This isn't really YAML though. YAML was intended for data serialization in much the same way that JSON is used.

So the name later on morphed to mean YAML Ain't a Markup Language, a more meta version of the acronym. Unlike JSON, YAML structures data in a more human-readable way using white space and indentation, while still allowing for complex data structures.

Other than readability, YAML offers cross-language data portability, which makes it ideal for configuration files, and a consistent data model to support generic tooling. It's one-pass processing, so the configuration file only needs to be read once, and it allows configuration as code that can be checked into version control to track the changes.

It's commonly used by a number of big names. Docker compose files are written in YAML. Ansible, Kubernetes use YAML, as do hundreds more projects.

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