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Re: Why DOCTYPE Declarations for XHTML?

From: Arjun Ray <aray@q2.net>
Date: Sat, 15 Jan 2000 21:11:05 -0500 (EST)
To: www-html <www-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.10.10001152022490.2094-100000@mail.q2.net>

On Sat, 15 Jan 2000, Daniel Hiester wrote:

> In my humble opinion, I'd rather see a requirement on a doctype in
> XML-based markup schemas for the web. I think it's important because
> we need to establish a concrete way for a UA to distinguish between
> one type of markup and another.

Sure, but the doctype declaration is not the answer: its function is
syntactic, not semantic.  The name "doctype declaration" is somewhat of a
misnomer, because it really doesn't *declare a document type* (in the
"abstract" or semantic sense - see Sec 2 of the XHTML Modularization


[The ArchForms syntax machinery can be forbidding;)  The key is that the
*document type* - that which allows "a UA to distinguish between one type
of markup and another" - is in a notation declaration: the public text
class is NOTATION in the FPI.  So, basically what we need is to declare
something like <!DOCUMENT PUBLIC "-//W3C//NOTATION XHTML 1.1//EN"> to say
what we mean.  Unfortunately, we have no standardized way to declare such
a *notation* directly.  Like HyTime, the XHTML spec could provisionally
"standardize" a processing instruction for this, but my impression is
that a FPI for a declaration subset - e.g. "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.1//EN" -
is to be pressed into double duty.]
> The object of XML / XHTML should be IMHO to learn from HTML's
> mistakes, and move onward, not repeat HTML's mistakes.

I couldn't agree more strongly.
> If a UA doesn't have anything more concrete than a doctype to varify
> that the markup it's reading is indeed "a brave, new..." markup, then
> it may confuse old with new.

'Content-type: text/html' is a free-for-all anyway.

Received on Saturday, 15 January 2000 21:09:07 UTC

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