Namespaces and XML validation

len bullard cbullard at
Wed Aug 12 05:00:18 BST 1998

Peter Murray-Rust wrote:
> I am sure that we shall not create a schism in the religious sense of the
> world. It's possible that some tools may be WF-centric and others
> DTD-centric. Hopefully many will do both. We could make a start (as we have
> already discussed) about giving precise instructions to parsers.

As is oft noted, DTDs serve different purposes in the production
Thinking beyond single applications, where a DTD exists, the file can 
be proved valid.  This is a legal concept as much as a computer science 
technology.  Different tools for different purposes indeed.

We create standards to serve both human and computer processes. 
Correct-by-construction techniques are well-understood.  The trust they 
provide in computer communications is established.  Where content has
lifecycles and the intent of the *author* is part of the information to
maintained, the abstract schema is a useful form of contracting, hence,
BNF in the specifications.  

While there are efforts to replace the SGML schemata syntax, some effort 
should be given to extending it.  As requirements are developed for 
the alternatives, I suggest that the working group for SGML make the 
same effort for SGML DTDs as the requirements there have a different 

Len Bullard

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