Re: What is SGML?

Subject: Re: What is SGML?
From: Geoff Lane <geoff -at- GJCTECH -dot- FORCE9 -dot- NET>
Date: Fri, 8 Aug 1997 14:36:25 +0100

On 8 August 1997, Carlolyn Haley (<dcma -at- MAIL1 -dot- NAI -dot- NET>) wrote:
> I learned yesterday that the book typesetting I was doing on an ArborText
> was in fact SGML, a great thing to have on my resume. Would someone
> tell me what SGML is and how it differs from typestting and relates to

I'm no expert but, hopefully, someone more knowledgeable than I will
correct any errors:

(S)tructured (G)eneralized (M)arkup (L)anguage:
In SGML, you mark up a document by tagging it to denote the document's
structure. The tags appear very similar to HTML tags; they are delimited
by angle-brackets, e.g. <P>. It's not surprising that SGML tags appear
similar to HTML; HTML is an SGML application.

All SGML applications use Document Type Definitions (DTD's) to define
valid document structure. Each industry has its own favourites, e.g.
DocBook, and various ISO DTD's. These definitions are separate files which
the SGML software applies to each document in the document class. BTW,
HTML uses DTD's but they are embedded within the browser.

Note that DTD's only define valid structure; they contain no typographical,
or other, formatting information. You specify a document format using
Document Style and Semantics Specification Language (DSSSL), or other
formatting specification. This way you can format a document specifically
for the purpose to hand, e.g. you'd use different DSSSL specifications for
printed copy and on-line documentation.

I, for one, would like to know a lot more about the subject. Not only is
it good for your CV, it appears to be an extremely powerful route to
platform and software independence.

My two-penny-worth.

Geoff Lane
(geoff -at- gjctech -dot- force9 -dot- net)
Languages with GOTO's are Wirth-less !

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