XML.com FAQs > A. General questions
Question:  A.3 What is SGML?

SGML is the Standard Generalized Markup Language (ISO 8879:1985), the international standard for defining descriptions of the structure of different types of electronic document. There is an SGML FAQ at http://www.infosys.utas.edu.au/info/sgmlfaq.txt which is posted every month to the comp.text.sgml newsgroup, and the SGML Web pages are at http://xml.coverpages.org/.

SGML is very large, powerful, and complex. It has been in heavy industrial and commercial use for over a decade, and there is a significant body of expertise and software to go with it. XML is a lightweight cut-down version of SGML which keeps enough of its functionality to make it useful but removes all the optional features which make SGML too complex to program for in a Web environment.

ISO standards like SGML are governed by the International Organization for Standardization in Geneva, Switzerland, and voted into or out of existence by representatives from every country's national standards body.

If you have a query about an international standard, you should contact your national standards body for the name of your country's representative on the relevant ISO committee or working group.

If you have a query about your country's representation in Geneva or about the conduct of your national standards body, you should contact the relevant government department in your country, or speak to your public representative.

The representation of countries at the ISO is not a matter for this FAQ. Please do not submit queries to the editor about how or why your ISO representatives have or have not voted on a specific standard.

This FAQ is from The XML FAQ, maintained by Peter Flynn