W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-sgml-wg@w3.org > October 1996

Re: C.4 Undeclared entities?

From: David G. Durand <dgd@cs.bu.edu>
Date: Wed, 30 Oct 1996 12:08:25 -0500
Message-Id: <v02130501ae9d37322cf6@[]>
To: w3c-sgml-wg@w3.org
At 5:32 PM 10/29/96, Henry S. Thompson wrote:
>OK, I'll bite.  David is merely the last in a moderately long list
>(i.e. at least three people :-) who have asserted without any argument
>that "users won't include a <!DOCTYPE ...>, so we shouldn't require
>one for well-formedness."  I have to say I just don't get it -- why
>ever not?  They're going to have to do a lot of other, more
>substantial, things differently from what they are used to, if they
>are hope-to-die HTML mavens, who are the only group I can suppose
>David et al. have in mind.  After all, both SGML fans and total
>newbies won't have any problem with following this rule.  Why is it
>likely that HTML fans, who after all have at least HEARD of
><!DOCTYPE ...>, will ignore this requirement but not, say, the
>requirement to provide explicit end tags?  Or the requirement to quote
>all attribute values?  Seems modest by comparison, and a small price
>to pay for SGML compatibility.

I've not been explicit enough.

I think people will not include the doctype when it _does not add value_.
If I am not using a DTD, then a doctype is not valuable. For those people
who can live with well-formed, rather than valid XML, the doctype will not
add value and will not be included. A requirement that it must be included
on well-formed, but invalid documents will be ignored. More people include
the title tags than doctype tags in HTML becuase title tags add value, not
because they care about conformance. They will do what is necessary to make
things work, and resent requirements that are not necessary to make things
work. The value of doctype for valid XML (with a DTD) is not a question in
my mind, or I think anyone else's. Attempting to require people to say what
they are _not_ using, when it has no effect on parsing seems like a losing

   End tags and attribute values have much better cases for the
restrictions we're putting on them -- in terms of XML processing, as well
as in terms of compatibility. I won't be surprised if many people start
using DTDs in order to get default attribute values, rather than to get
validation. We'll see.

   -- David

RE delenda est.
I am not a number. I am an undefined character.
David Durand              dgd@cs.bu.edu  \  david@dynamicDiagrams.com
Boston University Computer Science        \  Sr. Analyst
http://www.cs.bu.edu/students/grads/dgd/   \  Dynamic Diagrams
--------------------------------------------\  http://dynamicDiagrams.com/
MAPA: mapping for the WWW                    \__________________________
Received on Wednesday, 30 October 1996 12:03:31 UTC

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