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Re: DTD for protocol-03?

From: Dave Hollander <dmh@hpsgml.fc.hp.com>
Date: Tue, 07 Oct 1997 10:17:12 -0600
Message-Id: <199710071617.AA231231033@hpsgml.fc.hp.com>
To: Yaron Goland <yarong@microsoft.com>
Cc: w3c-dist-auth@w3.org

A lurker comes forward--I have been following this effort for some time
now and am very pleased at your progress. However, when I read Yaron's
note, I feel the need to speak up. 

In summary, if you are committed to using the XML syntax to express 
your protocol, then I see no way to justify a syntax expression language 
except that used by XML--DTDs.

Dave Hollander

> DTDs are NOT necessary for XML and in fact are seen as being deprecated
> by many parts of the XML community. 

While some, including myself, in the XML community believe that DTDs are
not needed for informal communication, I know of no one who deprecates
DTDs for use in formal efforts such as this one. Yes, there are those who 
would like to change the DTD syntax, but until that is done by the XML/SGML 
community, DTDs are the only way to formally define a syntax.

> Furthermore the DTD syntax is not
> well known amongst the HTTP community, of which DAV is a member, while
> BNF is.

There has been a HTML DTD for years, and the DTD is the center of much of
the effort for HTML work. I find it difficult to believe that there are
significantly more people who understand the subtleties of BNF than DTDs.

> Given that providing a DTD is not necessity for XML and that we will
> still have to provide our current syntax I propose that we add DTDs, as
> an appendix, to the final draft. Until we reach that final draft, there
> is little point in having to maintain two sets of definitions.

As Dan Connolly showed when he did the first HTML DTD, there are a lot of
subtle yet important differences between a syntax developed using DTDs and
DTDs that a created to document a syntax. The former is much, much better.
Received on Tuesday, 7 October 1997 12:18:22 UTC

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