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Difference between SGML and XHTML

Difference between SGML and XHTML

XHTML and SGML are both markup languages, but they serve different purposes. SGML is used for large documents, while XHTML is used for smaller documents. SGML allows more flexibility, while XHTML is stricter in its formatting requirements. In general, XHTML is considered to be a more modern language than SGML.

What is SGML?

SGML is a standard for defining structured documents. SGML is short for Standard Generalized Markup Language. SGML was published as an international standard in 1986 by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

  • SGML is the basis for many XML-based document formats, including DocBook, WebDAV, and XHTML. SGML is a complex language, and its syntax can be daunting to newcomers. However, SGML tools can be used to create simple documents without any knowledge of SGML.
  • SGML is also used to create more complex documents, such as teaching materials, technical manuals, and legal documents. SGML documents are typically created using a text editor or word processor.
  • However, there are also several SGML-specific editors available. SGML files are saved with the .sgml extension. SGML can be opened and edited with a text editor or word processor, but it must be converted to another format before it can be viewed in a web browser.

SGML is not well suited for use on the World Wide Web. SGML is best suited for use in print publishing or in electronic document interchange (EDI). Nonetheless, SGML remains an important standard, and it is regularly used in a wide variety of applications.

What is XHTML?

XHTML is a markup language that is similar to HTML. However, XHTML is stricter than HTML and must be well-formed in order to be valid. This means that all tags must be properly nested and all attributes must be enclosed in quotation marks. XHTML also requires that all tags be lowercase. While XHTML is not as widely used as HTML, it is becoming more popular as a way to ensure that web pages are well-formed and easily read by computers.

Difference between SGML and XHTML

SGML and XHTML are two SGML-based markup languages. SGML is a metalanguage, which refers to a language that defines other languages. SGML was developed in the 1970s as a way to standardize documentation.

  • It became the foundation for many popular markup languages, including HTML and XML. XHTML is a version of HTML that uses XML syntax. XML is a subset of SGML, meaning that all XML documents are SGML documents.
  • However, not all SGML documents are XML documents. SGML is more flexible than XML and can be used to create more complex document structures. XHTML was created to make HTML more flexible and extendable.
  • SGML can be used to create new markup languages, while XHTML can only be used to create versions of HTML. SGML is more powerful than XHTML, but it is also more complex. For most users, XHTML will be sufficient for their needs.


SGML and XHTML are both markup languages used to define the structure of a document. However, there are some key differences between the two. The most obvious difference is that SGML is a standard while XHTML is a recommendation from W3C. This means that there are more restrictions on how XHTML can be used than SGML. Additionally, because XHTML is based on HTML, it is easier for people to learn and use. Finally, XHTML documents are typically smaller in size than SGML documents. If you’re looking for a more restrictive markup language with fewer options, then XHTML may be right for you. If you want more flexibility and don’t mind dealing with potential compatibility issues, then SGML may be the better option.

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