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Ending DTD proliferation at the W3C

From: Michael[tm] Smith <mike@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 14 Jan 2014 04:22:05 +0900
To: www-tag@w3.org
Message-ID: <20140113192203.GD5252@sideshowbarker>
In response to a suggestion[*] from Dan Appelquist on twitter, I'd like to
ask that the TAG consider taking a position against further publication of
DTDs in W3C TR space by any W3C working group.

  [*] https://twitter.com/torgo/status/422746987650220032

Specifically, I'd like for there to be a document from the TAG somewhere
stating that:

  - Working groups should not include DTDs or portions from DTDs in any
    form, even non-normatively, within any specifications they wish to
    publish as Working Drafts or Notes in TR space.

  - Working groups should also not publish DTDs separate from specifications
    in TR space, including not for the purpose of referencing the DTDs
    within a specification nor for any other purpose; so for example, no
    further DTDs should be made available in TR space similar to the way in
    which http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/strict.dtd is made available there.

  - No current W3C draft specifications that contain or reference DTDs
    should be allowed to transition to Candidate Recommendation, Proposed
    Recommendation, or Recommendation.

The rationale for stopping publication of DTDs in TR space is that:

  - DTDs published in TR space risk being considered by the community to be
    complete normative expressions of the document-conformance constraints
    for a specification, even if they are labeled as non-normative.

  - DTDs as a formalism lack the power to express many document-conformance
    constraints that can be stated in the prose of a specification. The
    community should always first be reading the prose of the specifications
    themselves in order to understand the conformance constraints the
    specification states -- rather than relying on any accompanying DTD.

  - To the degree that it's useful for the W3C to publish schema formalisms
    at all, DTDs as a schema formalism have been obsoleted for many years
    now by Relax NG and W3C XML Schema (which even themselves are unable to
    express many conformance constraints that can be stated in the prose of
    a specification, but at least come closer than DTDs).

-- 
Michael[tm] Smith http://people.w3.org/mike
Received on Monday, 13 January 2014 19:22:13 UTC

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