W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-sgml-wg@w3.org > May 1997

Re: DTD Fragments and XML

From: Terry Allen <tallen@sonic.net>
Date: Sat, 3 May 1997 13:54:52 -0700
Message-Id: <199705032054.NAA05835@bolt.sonic.net>
To: papresco@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca, w3c-sgml-wg@w3.org
Paul Prescod:
>Here is my nightmare, and what I expect will happen. Someone will ask on
comp.text.xml, "How do I add a <FOO> element to my DocBook-XML document"
and they will get twenty answers back: "Just delete that useless DOCTYPE
line, use your element and everything will just work." In one minute
they will render their document useless for anything other than raw web
display using their own stylesheet. Something is wrong when we provide
such a powerful incentive for removing the namespace labelling mechanism
on their document and provide no alternate.         

Yes.  I have been trying to imagine circumstances under which I would
want to dispense with the DTD for publication of serious stuff, and
I cannot.  I will need the DTD and the public identifier that points
to its prose semantics - style sheets won't fill that gap.  I am
beginning to question the value of WFness, aside from providing
consultants with more work.

How can you tell what's wrong with the followiing document 


without the DTD that says that <cat> has nine <life>s?  This
kind of insidious data corruption will become common:  docs will
be WF but will not work right in their intended apps because they
don't obey certain constraints designed into those apps.   In
SGML we cover a lot (not all) of this ground with the code portion
of the DTD and much of the rest (we hope) in the prose portion
of the DTD.

But then, more work for consultants is not something to complain
about, I suppose.

  Terry Allen    Electronic Publishing Consultant    tallen[at]sonic.net
    Davenport and DocBook:  http://www.ora.com/davenport/index.html
          T.A. at Passage Systems:  terry.allen[at]passage.com 
Received on Saturday, 3 May 1997 16:51:57 UTC

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