Difference Between SGML and XHTML

Markup techniques such as SGML and XHTML are also regarded to be markup linguistics. A markup language is a system of words and lexical items used in digital technology to emphasize content and specify it for a web publication.

It’s critical to comprehend the responsibilities of the SGML and XHTML languages in new website creation; they have a unique relationship.

The link between these two languages is seen as a familial connection that aids in the operation of webpages and also the adaptive as well as the dynamic design of websites. Hence, the differences between both the markup languages are quite distinct and important too.


The main difference between SGML and XHTML is that SGML is a descendant of GML and HTML code has been generated using SGML whereas when talking about XHTML, it is used for production and coding in XML language for your website. Both SGML and XHTML are computer markup languages that are used to convert electronic files into text.


Standard generalized markup language, full-form of SGML is a metalanguage that is a global standard for the specification of markup languages. Markup is made up of tags that describe the purpose of a string of words or how it should be represented in the final webpage.

The focus in SGML focuses on descriptive markups, such as the tag “emphasis>.” The document functionality is denoted by this markup, which can be read as inverted video on a computer monitor, typewriter highlighting, or italics in typeset text.

EXtensible HyperText Markup Language is an acronym for XHTML. It’s a language that combines HTML and XML.

XHTML is remarkably similar to HTML, although it is more stringent. HTML that is specified as an XML program is known as XHTML.

All major web browsers are compatible with it. While XHTML is nearly identical to HTML, it surely is more crucial to write good code since XHTML has tighter syntax including case sensitivity when compared to HTML.

Comparison Table Between SGML and XHTML

Parameters of ComparisonSGMLXHTML
AcronymStandard Generalized Markup LanguageEXtensible HyperText Markup Language.
Sustenance and SupportSGML is low sustenance because of its complex UI and stringent codes.XHTML is very sustainable markup language which is used 
SpeedSGML is slow to load and refreshXHTML is fast to load and many webpages are compatible with it.
OriginSGML is a descendant of IBM‘s Generalized Markup Language (GML), that was created in the 1960s by Charles Goldfarb and team.26th January 2000 in the version 5.0 with latest release in October 2014.
VersionsNo version bifurcations, however, the document contains; a declaration, prologue and DTDXHTML; 1.1, 2.0, 2.1, 5.0 etc.

What is SGML?

The Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) is an acronym for SGML. SGML is the primary language of HTML as well as XML, all of which are currently commonly used for electronic document transcription.

The appeal of SGML has grown quickly over time in a variety of specialized domains. SGML has a few limitations as well.

Due to SGML’s robust settings, an unreliable program is generated because there are no commonly accepted style sheets.

Furthermore, SGML data transfer has grown extremely complicated as a result of variable complete software interoperability, which can lead to major issues.

For these drawbacks, cynics have dubbed SGML “Sounds Good Maybe Later.”

DTDs are specified using SGML (document type definitions). A DTD specifies a kind of text, such as a reporting study, by describing which components must occur in the document—for example, Title>—and by establishing rules for the use of document components, such as the fact that an article may exist within a table entry but not really a table.

A parsing program can examine a marked-up text to see if it adheres to a DTD. Other applications may scan the markups in order to create indexing or convert the page to PostScript for publishing it using SGML for the final webpage.

However, the operations and methods for coding using SGML language are pretty complicated and tough when compared to the simplistic XML language.

What is XHTML?

XHTML is a precursor of HTML 4.0 that was created as a conceptualization. Later, a variant of HTML was created to create a variety of digital information.

There are numerous reasons why content providers choose to produce XHTML. This language was created to allow users to create their custom tags.

XHTML is a portable markup language. As a result, non-desktop users can use the technology to browse these electronic files.

As a result, XHTML is an XML product, whereas HTML is an SGML result. XML was also created with the intention of being expandable.

As a result, XHTML has also become extensible. XML Document Descriptions, or DTDs, were established by XML in the instance of SGML. The father of XML and its variants can be said to be SGML

XHTML stands for ‘EXtensible HyperText Markup Language’ and it’s a language that combines HTML and XML. XHTML is remarkably similar to HTML, although it is more stringent. XHTML is much more long-lasting than SGML.

Web apps are growing more complex with experience. As a result, XHTML will gain wide acceptance.

A large number of programs implement the usage of XHTML. As a result, it may be used to build complicated websites.

The few computers that can handle XHTML are operating quicker due to reduced error process parameters. Files with a high number of mistakes take longer to process.

Main Differences Between SGML and XHTML

  1. SGML is complex whereas XHTML is more sustainable and user-friendly than SGML.
  2. SGML stands for Standard Generalized Markup Language whereas XHTML stands for EXtensible HyperText Markup Language.
  3. SGML does not permit conversion to other file types such as PDF, RSS, or RFT, but XHTML does.
  4. SGML does not imply any closing tags whereas XHTML supports closing tags.
  5. SGML-based webpages are slow to load and sometimes require more threshold support whereas XHTML is fluidic and faster to load.


Markup languages such as HTML and XML are both markup languages. SGML is a specialized mark-up language for expressing web content, whereas XML is a universal markup language for depicting any data.

To generalize, XHTML academic qualifications are lacking in SGML-based systems. Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Vista, and all mobile browsers are examples of browsers that really can handle XHTML files.

Due to SGML’s powerful defaults, an insecure program is generated since there are no widely accepted style sheets.


  1. https://www.britannica.com/technology/computer-programming-language/SGML
  2. http://desource.uvu.edu/dgm/2120/in/steinja/lessons/03/03_02.html
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