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Office Automation & Intranets. BUSS 909. Lecture 5 From Storage to Interchange: S tandard G eneralized M arkup L anguage (SGML). Notices 1. Assignment 1 is due next week

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Office automation intranets
Office Automation & Intranets

BUSS 909

Lecture 5

From Storage to Interchange:

Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML)

Notices 1
Notices 1

  • Assignment 1 is due next week

  • Assignment 2 will be available from the Intranet next week. As with the current assignment, there are some administrative requirements that must be fulfilled by all students- described next lecture

Notices 2
Notices (2)

  • to accommodate the new T1 tutorial for this subject, my Consultation Time C1 which was 14:30-16:30 is now 13:30-15:30 40.242 remaining in effect until the end of session


  • Types of Markup

  • Stylesheets & Markup (wrt HTML)

  • SGML Standard

  • SGML Example

  • SGML Benefits

  • Adopting SGML

Types of markup1
Types of Markup

  • the following slides show an extract from a Vincent motorcycle repair manual to illustrate the types of markup which can be used on a document

  • but just in case you don’t know what a Vincent motorbike looks like, here is a picture of a 1994 rebuild of the 1959 classic...

Types of markup procedural markup
Types of MarkupProcedural Markup

  • the following two slides shows an extract from a Vincent motorcycle repair manual showing the procedural markup

  • this kind of markup tells a workprocessor or other related system how to render (or display) the page

Procedural Markup

Centre; 10pt Times-Roman

Down 10pt; centre;

12pt. Helvetica Bold

Down 15pt.; first line indent 0.3 inch; 12-pt. Times Roman

Down 22pt.; centre; 10-pt. Helvetica Medium

Down 5pt.; centre; 12-pt Helvetica Bold

Down 10pt.; 12-pt Times Roman run-in bold

(Source: Nicholson Brothers Motorcycles Ltd. 1994)

Procedural Markup (continued)

Down 22pt.; centre; 10-pt. Helvetica Medium

Down 5pt; centre;

12pt. Helvetica Bold

Down 15pt.; 12-pt. Times Roman

Down 10-pt.; indent 0.32 inch first line indent 0.325 inch right align 0.2 inch; tab left alighed 0.325 inch 12-pt. Times Roman

(Source: Nicholson Brothers Motorcycles Ltd. 1994)

Types of markup descriptive markup
Types of MarkupDescriptive Markup

  • the following two slides shows an extract from a Vincent motorcycle repair manual showing the descriptive markup

    • the descriptive markup used in this example identifies the structure of the document

    • this type of markup could be used to describe the data or information structure of the document

Descriptive Markup

chapnum (Chapter number)



sectnum(Section Number)


labitem (Label list item)

(Source: Nicholson Brothers Motorcycles Ltd. 1994)

Descriptive Markup (continued)

sectnum (Section number)



(Section number)

listitem (List item)

(Source: Nicholson Brothers Motorcycles Ltd. 1994)

Stylesheets and markup emphasising html
Stylesheets and MarkupEmphasising HTML

Stylesheets and markup
Stylesheets and Markup

  • for any real document based system, we need to:

    • design the content of the document- descriptive markup- independent of its look

    • design the look of the document- procedural markup- independent of its content

    • we need to relate them together because content must be displayed- this is done by using stylesheets

Stylesheets and markup1


Focus: Assist users/readers in interpreting the meanings of a document by means of a consistent visual look

Function: providing a consistent look and feel- procedural issue- to meaningful elements of a document- descriptive issue.

Descriptive Markup

Prescriptive Markup

Focus: Information System

Function: How to display or render the elements of a document

Focus: Human Users

Function: What is the meaning of an element in a document, what purpose does it serve for the organisation

Stylesheets and Markup

Stylesheets and markup h yper t ext m arkup l anguage
Stylesheets and MarkupHyper Text Markup Language

  • In principle, HTML as a standard attempts to provide structural meaning to page content- the purpose of tags

    • what is enclosed between <P>…</P> is interpreted as a paragraph

  • unfortunately, structural markup is only a limited form of descriptive markup

Stylesheets and markup html 4 0 specification 1
Stylesheets and MarkupHTML 4.0 Specification (1)

  • unfortunately, most web page authors concentrate only on the look of the page (by heavily using the procedural markup oriented tags)

  • the introduction of the HTML 4.0 specification attempted to distance the content of web pages from formatting issues

Stylesheets and markup html 4 0 specification 2
Stylesheets and MarkupHTML 4.0 Specification (2)

  • this standard encouraged reduction in the use of formatting (procedural) markup like <FONT>…</FONT> and <H1>...</H1>, <H2>...</H2> etc. tags

    • formatting was assigned to a separate standardization effort related to content style- Cascading Style Sheet (CSS)

    • provided the means to pass the decision as to how a paragraph looks to a style definition

Stylesheets and markup link between stylesheet and content
Stylesheets and MarkupLink between Stylesheet and Content

  • In HTML, the link between a style sheet and the content it influences is either:

    • tag name of the HTML element that holds the content or,

    • an identifier associated with the element by way of an attribute (eg. ID or a CLASS attribute)

Stylesheets and markup cascading style sheets
Stylesheets and MarkupCascading Style Sheets

  • Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) allows authors to define style rules to each HTML element and these rules may apply to either:

    • single elements

    • a related group of elements, or to

    • all elements of a particular type (such as all P elements)

Stylesheets and markup style rules in css 1
Stylesheets and MarkupStyle Rules in CSS (1)

  • style rules influence the rendering of elements

    • colour, alignment, border, margins, and padding between borders and content

    • can also control special items eg. whether Ordered List (OL) elements use bullet symbols, letters or roman numerals

Stylesheets and markup style rules in css 2
Stylesheets and MarkupStyle Rules in CSS (2)

  • every style rules have two parts:

    • one or more elements or groups of elements that have style sheets defined for them

    • one or more style sheet attributes that apply to the elements

  • then need to relate or bind stylesheets to HTML elements (eg. to all P elements)- several possible approaches

Stylesheets and markup approaches of binding
Stylesheets and MarkupApproaches of Binding

  • two major approaches to binding stylesheets to HTML elements

    • in-document styles

    • importing external stylesheets

  • the choice of approach depends on:

    • the size and complexity of the web site

    • the size of the development team

    • user community diversity and expertise

Stylesheets and markup in document style binding 1



<H1 STYLE= “color:red; text transform:capitalize”>Some heading</H1>

<P STYLE=“color:blue”>Some paragraph text</P>



One form of In-Document Style Binding associates a style declaration to an HTML element using the elements’ STYLE attribute


convenient if style rules are few and simple

difficult to maintain in large sites as changes must be made throughout the HTML file

Stylesheets and MarkupIn-Document Style Binding (1)

Note: almost every HTML element can have a STYLE attributeassociated with it

Stylesheets and markup in document style binding 2

Another form of In-Document Style Binding is to define and group together all style rules between <STYLE>… </STYLE> tags


better option when trying to maintain a moderately complex page

promotes modular design and implementation of page



<STYLE TYPE =“text/css”>


H1 {color:red; text-transform:capitalize}

P {color:blue}







<H1>Some heading</H1>

<P>Some paragraph text</P>



Note: style rules are enclosed in HTML comments to prevent older browsers from trying to render them

Stylesheets and MarkupIn-Document Style Binding (2)

Stylesheets and markup binding using external stylesheets

Define and apply an external style sheet file to one or more HTML files

the external style sheet file (above, left) contains only rules no HTML tags


promotes a consistent look similar to work processor style sheets

separates the documents’ structure and look

Note: these style rules are stored in the file called mystyles.css

Stylesheets and MarkupBinding using External Stylesheets

H1 {color:red; text-transform:capitalize}

P {color:blue}



<LINK REL=STYLESHEET TYPE=“text/css” HREF=“mystyles.css”>




<H1>Some heading</H1>

<P>Some paragraph text</P>



Note: rules are applied to HTML file on the fly

Stylesheets and markup difficulties with html 1
Stylesheets and MarkupDifficulties with HTML (1)

  • While the CSS Level 1 is consistent across major browsers, it doesn’t provide exact positioning of elements on a page

  • the CSS Level 2 standard supports exact positioning but there are differences in implementation across major browsers

  • CSS Level 2 has many advantages but in order to preserve the same look developers may be forced to use Level 1- or undertake a major development task!

Stylesheets and markup difficulties with html 2
Stylesheets and MarkupDifficulties with HTML (2)

  • there is a much more serious problem:

    • the stylesheet and descriptive markup capabilities of HTML 4.0 and DHTML (HTML 5.0), were not built into it from the start

    • describing the structure is not the same thing as descriptive markup

    • users cannot create there own tags based on meanings (semantics)- for example no tags for PART NUMBER or COURSE- HTML not extensible

Stylesheets and markup difficulties with html 3
Stylesheets and MarkupDifficulties with HTML (3)

  • on the Internet simplicity wins over efficiency- the Web has grown because its core standards are simple:

    • proof of this is that HTML is itself written using another standard for describing documents- this standard is called SGML

    • SGML has also been used to develop a standard likely to replacement HTML on the web- XML described in Lecture 13

Sgml standard1
SGML Standard

  • internationally recognised standard (ISO 8879) for describing and enforcing structure and properties onto data in computer base information systems, including semi-structured data

    • completely descriptive markup system for document content

    • open environment for the interchange of a portable generic format between platforms

Sgml standard features 1
SGML StandardFeatures (1)

  • major features:

    • syntax for text processing stylesheets

    • extensible document description language

    • meta-language for defining document types

  • text media support:

    • text is coded according to its meaning- can be used in way not originally envisioned

    • tagging language

    • database language for text

Sgml standard features 2
SGML StandardFeatures (2)

  • media processing applications:

    • foundation for multimedia and hypertext- HyTime (an ISO standard) is an SGML application that knows about multimedia, time-based events, synchronisation

  • general computational features:

    • handles logical structures (conditional documents)

    • notation for structures (eg. hierarchies): sequences, repetitions and selections

Sgml standard features 3
SGML StandardFeatures (3)

  • other aspects:

    • general file linking and addressing scheme

    • open document representation language for any system architecture

    • supports open inter-communication regardless of hardware platforms and software applications

Sgml standard instances document type definition
SGML StandardInstances & Document Type Definition

  • An SGML document is text only, but has the following structure:

    • an document instance containing the data

    • a document type definition(DTD) defining what data elements can be in the document, and how these data elements relate to each other

Sgml standard document instances
SGML Standard Document Instances

  • document instances contain data and markup (called tags):

    • both data and tags are in ASCII format- read by any application

    • tags are distinguishable from data: tags always have pairs of <> brackets

    • some system specific data can be inserted into the instance using special tags- removes the need for control codes etc

Sgml standard document type definition 1
SGML StandardDocument Type Definition (1)

  • can be stored at the beginning of the document or externally in a separate file (generally the latter)

  • consist of all the formal definition of the elements, structures, and rules for marking up a given type of SGML document

Sgml standard document type definitions 2
SGML Standard Document Type Definitions (2)

  • comprise rules and relationships that define how the different elements within a document relate to each other:

    • specify the order in which headings occur

    • which elements are allowed under each heading

    • the order and frequency with which elements should appear

Sgml standard document type definitions 3
SGML Standard Document Type Definitions (3)

  • specifies the permitted document elements

    • eg. ‘Chapter’, ‘Heading’, ‘Definition-entry’, ‘Defined-work’, ‘Definition’ and ‘See-also’

  • each element typically has a content model stating its required or permitted contents.

    • eg. the content model for ‘Definition-entry’ would state that it must have only one ‘Defined-word’ and ‘Definition’

    • ‘Defined-word’ and ‘Definition’ must also be described by content models

Document type definition extract of an sgml memo dtd
Document Type DefinitionExtract of an SGML Memo DTD

<! -- DTD for simple office memoranda --->

<! --




<! ELEMENT BODY -0 (P) * >






Sgml processing systems 1
SGML Processing Systems (1)

  • read a document instance, and refers to a DTD to find out how to process it

    • aspects of the document instance such as format of the page, fonts spacing etc. are not defined in SGML (a distinction between PostScript for example and SGML)

  • must exist in heterogeneous environments where not all documents are in SGML

Sgml processing systems 2
SGML Processing Systems (2)




SGML Parser

SGML Processing System

Application Output

Sgml processing systems 3






Editing System





SGML Processing Systems (3)

New Data



New Data






  • Document Style Semantics and Specification Language (DSSSL)

    • is the ISO international standard (ISO DIS 10179) which addresses the need for detailed, typographically sophisticated, specification of layout and composition

    • independent of particular formatting systems or processes

Sgml example informational content markup
SGML ExampleInformational Content Markup

  • the following two slides shows an extract from a Vincent motorcycle repair manual

  • show the informational content markup using SGML

  • note that SGML tags are usually shown in the form <…> followed by </..>

Information Markup

(Source: Nicholson Brothers Motorcycles Ltd. 1994)

Information Markup (continued)

(Source: Nicholson Brothers Motorcycles Ltd. 1994)

Sgml benefits1
SGML Benefits

  • DTD structure forces the user to focus on document content not format

  • SGML helps the authors by:

    • suggesting the correct structure of different document types

    • enforces the correct structure: if an author attempted to put in non-standard material, the application would refuse to accept it

Sgml benefits2
SGML Benefits

  • Data Management

    • common data repository for the enterprise

    • standardised formatting for information

    • minimise data duplication

    • control/check data quality

    • maximises the benefit of data entry and authoring

Sgml benefits3
SGML Benefits

  • facilitates data exchange within an enterprise (Intranets)

    • prevents islands of information forming within the organisation (that is information trapped within specific functional areas)

    • prevents an ‘isolationist mentality’ forming within specific functional areas (‘marketing’ data rather than organisational asset)

Sgml benefits4
SGML Benefits

  • facilitiates data exchange between an organisation and business partners (Extranets; EDI)

    • promotes participation between partners

    • reduces costs, improves performance

    • streamlines operations and maangement practices, reduces ‘bottlenecks’

Sgml benefits5
SGML Benefits

Video Case Studies about EDI

  • Note that SGML could well have been an enabling technology for EDI in these CASE Studies

  • take notes on how these EDI systems were negotiated- what are the Tactical Strategic and Operation implications suggested in these cases

Adopting sgml1
Adopting SGML

  • Data Analysis

  • Feasilbility Study

  • Standardising Data Concepts

  • Data Entry & Document Conversion

  • Delivery of Data to Users