A XAAL document consists of four main parts: (i) metadata, (ii) definitions, (iii) initial state, and (iv) animation. An example of the high-level structure of a XAAL document is given below. Note that the examples in this site are often not complete XAAL animations but merely document fragments illustrating some features of the language.
<xaal xmlns="http://www.cs.hut.fi/Research/SVG/XAAL"> <metadata>..</metadata> <defs>..</defs> <initial>..</initial> <animation>..</animation> </xaal>
The root element of a XAAL document is xaal. The element metadata is used to include metadata about the animation. This element is described in Metadata section. The element defs is used to specify animation options as well as stylesheets and shapes used in the animation. This element will be introduced in definitions. The initial element contains the initial graphical objects and data structures. The animation element contains the animation operations.
Some parts of the language use the specification of the ITiCSE XML Working Group that the author of Xaal was part of. Especially the specification of the graphical primitives and transformations is identical to the WG specification, and thus the text is highly similar. This is due to the fact that the author contributed especially on these parts of the Working Group report. The reason for not using more of the Working Group's specifications is that the specifications on other areas than graphical primitives are not yet finished.