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How to define <elements> in specifications

From: Bjoern Hoehrmann <derhoermi@gmx.net>
Date: Tue, 19 Jul 2005 00:46:58 +0200
To: www-qa@w3.org
Message-ID: <43072090.44271828@smtp.bjoern.hoehrmann.de>

Hi,

  With the increasing popularity of markup languages we see more and
more specifications for such languages. One of the challenges faced by
the editors of such specifications is how to encode information about
the elements and attributes in the specification.

Common information for an element would be which attributes it may have,
which attributes are required, the syntax for the attribute values,
which elements may/must nest inside such an element and in which order,
include schema fragments and if, which schema language(s), and so on.

Below is a list of such specifications with more or less random elements
picked out. Each of them uses a (sometimes slightly) different approach.
What I would like to have is an analysis of these differences, some
documentation on what is out there, and derived guidelines for editors
to make an educated choice and possibly to update the relevant tools to
help with their choice.

Naturally, conceptually different formats have different needs in this
regard, a format for a simple data-oriented web service is different
from a combined XHTML+SVG+SMIL+XForms+XML-Events+XBL+MathML+VoiceXML
specification which is unlikely to ever exist even though some of us
might find themselves authoring such documents at some point.

Which is actually a good reason why specifications for the latter set
of formats should integrate well with each other and an author trying
to understand such a complex compound document format is certainly not
helped having to deal with a dozen of different ways to describe con-
ceptually very similar things.

I am now looking for people interested in researching this topic and
how this should be approached exactly. In general, I would like to have
documentation of opinions about what is good and what is bad about the
various approaches, and possibly a set of mini Technical Reports that
describe the same very simple (like 5 simple elements) language where
one can get a general feeling for the dominant approaches.

It's usually sufficient to post such a message to some mailing lists;
a bunch of volunteers will then tackle the problem and let me know of
the results. Thanks in advance for this, you are a fantastic community!

Here is the list:

  * http://www.w3.org/TR/2003/REC-SVG11-20030114/struct.html#SVGElement
  * http://www.w3.org/TR/2001/REC-xhtml-modularization-20010410/abstract_modules.html#s_imagemodule
  * http://www.w3.org/TR/2005/WD-sXBL-20050405/#the-definition
  * http://ietfreport.isoc.org/idref/draft-ietf-atompub-format/
  * http://www.w3.org/TR/2002/REC-xmldsig-core-20020212/#sec-CanonicalizationMethod
  * http://www.w3.org/TR/1999/REC-xslt-19991116#section-Defining-Template-Rules
  * http://relaxng.org/spec-20011203.html#full-syntax
  * http://www.w3.org/TR/2004/REC-xmlschema-1-20041028/#element-attribute
  * http://www.w3.org/TR/2005/WD-wsdl20-20050510/#Interface_XMLRep
  * http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss#hrelementsOfLtitemgt
  * http://www.w3.org/TR/1999/REC-html401-19991224/struct/global.html#h-7.5.4
  * http://www.w3.org/TR/2005/WD-P3P11-20050701/#ENTITY
  * http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc2629.txt
  * http://www.w3.org/TR/2005/REC-xkms2-20050628/#XKMS_2_0_Section_7_2
  * http://www.w3.org/TR/2005/WD-scxml-20050705/#N103B4
  * http://www.w3.org/TR/2003/REC-soap12-part1-20030624/#faultdetailelement
  * http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/download.php/12572/OpenDocument-v1.0-os.pdf
  * http://www.w3.org/TR/2005/REC-SMIL2-20050107/smil-timing.html#Timing-SeqSyntax
  * http://www.w3.org/TR/2003/REC-MathML2-20031021/chapter3.html#presm.mi
  * https://www.google.com/webmasters/sitemaps/docs/en/protocol.html#xmlTagDefinitions
  * http://www.w3.org/TR/2005/WD-SVGMobile12-20050413/struct.html#SVGElement
  * http://www.w3.org/TR/2001/REC-xsl-20011015/slice6.html#fo_inline
  * http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc3920.txt
  * http://www.w3.org/TR/2004/WD-emma-20041214/#s3.1.3
  * http://www.w3.org/TR/2003/REC-xforms-20031014/slice8.html#ui-secret
  * http://www.w3.org/TR/2004/WD-InkML-20040928/#inkElement

regards,
-- 
Björn Höhrmann · mailto:bjoern@hoehrmann.de · http://bjoern.hoehrmann.de
Weinh. Str. 22 · Telefon: +49(0)621/4309674 · http://www.bjoernsworld.de
68309 Mannheim · PGP Pub. KeyID: 0xA4357E78 · http://www.websitedev.de/ 
Received on Monday, 18 July 2005 22:47:11 GMT

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