XML-Data: advantages over DTD syntax? (and some wishes)

len bullard cbullard at hiwaay.net
Thu Oct 2 04:13:03 BST 1997

Paul Prescod wrote:
>> Jarle Stabell wrote:
> > I assume most people today won't edit DTDs (either today's version or
> > XML-Data or similar versions) in the "raw" text format. They will of
> > course use tools, visualizing the hierarchy (XML-Data's
> > extends/implements), selecting values from comboboxes etc.
> If this is the case then the syntax is irrelevant for those people and
> they are thus not relevant to the discussion of syntax.

I also have to add that in all of the years I have done this 
sort of work, the argument that "they won't edit this by hand" 
is the first one to fall apart as soon as the spec is released.  
Editors follow slowly and even when they do, the ability to 
"hack the ASCII" is a capability you should defend with your 
last breath.  This was an argument presented for VRML as 
well (by Gavin Bell, as a matter of fact).  Truth is, we 
use the editors for construction of complex objects, yes, 
but we typically debug in ASCII with line numbers.

They will edit the DTDs raw.  Count on it.  It's actually 
rather easy to do and that is from some years of doing it
with the Bad, Hard, We Hate The Syntax but Love the Concepts 
parent: SGML.  Frequency, occurrence and membership just 
aren't that hard to grasp.


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