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Writing modular XML?

From: Alex Vincent <ajvincent@hotmail.com>
Date: Fri, 19 Oct 2001 00:28:01 -0700
To: <xml-editor@w3.org>
Message-ID: <OE507x0JY9nIvx7Oqv0000044ff@hotmail.com>
Dear ladies and gentlemen,

    I've been noticing a trend in W3C Recommendations and discussions over
the last few months.  Several current recommendations are making a move
towards modularizing their languages.  We already have a Modularization of
XHTML Recommendation, which XHTML 1.1 is based upon.  The SVG working group
has announced intentions to make SVG 1.1 a modularized version of SVG 1.0.
MathML has a modular design, and a sample XHTML+MathML DTD based on that
modularization.

    As I see it, modularized XML languages are to XML languages what
object-oriented programming is to programming.  In OOP, you deal with
objects which have properties and methods.  With modular XML, you deal with
modules possessing elements and attributes.  In OOP, you manipulate and move
objects instead of individual pieces.  With modular XML, you manipulate and
move modules of DTDs instead of individual elements.

    The question is, how do I write a modular XML language?

    I've already figured out DTDs well enough to put one together.  But
modular design in DTDs is an entirely new level of abstraction, as the
Modularization of XHTML Recommendation demonstrates.  The same level of
abstraction applies to XML Schemas.

    I'm wondering if the XML Core working group, or another group, would be
willing to write something to explain to language designers how to
modularize their languages, or how to build their languages to be modular in
the first place.  Such efforts can only help other already modularized
languages combine to provide a rich XML environment more efficiently.

    Personally, I'd prefer a W3C Recommendation on the subject (but I doubt
I'm going to get one).  However, some sort of article on the subject would
help me immensely.  Even a W3C Note or some other, less official source,
would be welcome.

    I've appreciated your work in XML a great deal, and I look forward to
the coming year, when I mix and match various XML languages and DOMs to
build some documents which test the outer limits of what browsers are
capable of.

Most Respectfully Yours,



Alexander J. Vincent
author, JavaScript Developer's Dictionary (forthcoming from Sams Publishing)
Received on Friday, 19 October 2001 03:28:36 GMT

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