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Re: Errors in MathML DTD

From: Terje Bless <link@pobox.com>
Date: Sun, 20 Apr 2003 05:29:13 +0200
To: David Carlisle <davidc@nag.co.uk>
cc: www-math@w3.org, W3C Validator <www-validator@w3.org>
Message-ID: <a0106000f-1025-424EC8E572E011D7B5DF0030657B83E8@[]>

David Carlisle <davidc@nag.co.uk> wrote:

>>Hmmm, the state of the MathML DTD appears to be quite fluid in
>>comparison with the stringent process for normal deliverables (i.e.
>>Recommendations) of W3C WGs.
>[...] Unfortunately due to an error on my part a change was not
>corectly cvs committed so the version on the server was broken (for
>about a day). This was unfortunate, but was a specific human error,
>not a sign of an endemic problem.

I merely meant that it changes at all in between publications of a new
Recommendation. I did not mean to imply that there was some endemic problem
with it (and the problem would be _our_ problem in any case). My apologies
for not beeing clearer.

The small human error you refer to was simply what made us notice that the
DTD had changed in this instance.

>>Perhaps it would be prudent to discuss how better to make sure the
>>Markup Validation Service stays in sync with the latest developments in
>>the MathML Recommendation and its supporting materials in the future?
>Surely all the validation service needs to do is to use the DTD from 
>/Math/DTD/mathml2/ no other syncronisation should be needed should it?

Well, as has been mentioned, fetching it over the network is not optimal --
especially since the Validator may well have been installed behind a
firewall without access to the outside world at all -- so we do need to
keep a complete local copy.

But another issue is the way in which the DTD is generated.

IIRC you generate the DTD using XSLT or some similar method, and this has
in the past generated a DTD with a physical layout on disk which is
significantly different from the previous version despite having only minor
logical changes (e.g. at one point I think the directory structure actually
changed in such a minor revision!).

Since we need to keep the DTD in CVS, this becomes a practical problem;
both in terms of having to do a lot of shuffling around of files when the
directory structure changes, and in terms of actually tracking what changes
have occurred between versions.

>I can certainly volunteer to keep an eye on the www-validator list to
>watch for any mathml-related problems that are reported there.

That would be very helpfull, as Nick has mentioned, and letting us know
when changes occur in the DTD even more so. Experience seems to indicate
that trying to track these updates "from the outside" does not work very
well; or at least I have not been able to do a very good job at it.

In a slightly longer perspective, we've been tossing around the idea of a
"W3C DTD Collection" project to collect all the currently relevant DTDs in
a single convenient place (including some documentation and a consistent
directory structure etc.).

Partially this is motivated by the need to keep track of the DTDs for the
various Validators (the W3C, WDG, and Nick's Valet tools are all
duplicating this effort individually at the moment), but also to provide a
common source for the various vendors (typically the Linux vendors, but
also other system vendors) to build their installations from.

If you have any thoughts on this we would very much like to hear them!

Now Playing "Strange Fruit" by "Nina Simone"",
 from the album "Feeling Good - The Very Best Of".
Received on Saturday, 19 April 2003 23:29:24 GMT

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