XSchema Spec, Section 1.0 (Draft 2)

Simon St.Laurent SimonStL at classic.msn.com
Tue Jun 9 21:00:59 BST 1998

So far, only the introduction to the section has been criticized.  
Fortunately, the critic (thanks, Paul!) included a nearly complete suggestion 
for fixing it.  What follows is the revised 1.0, not including information in 
sections 1.1 and later.  A complete version of the latest draft of the entire 
section is available at http://purl.oclc.org/NET/xschema.

Simon St.Laurent
Dynamic HTML: A Primer / XML: A Primer / Cookies


1.0 Introduction

In order for document processing to be reliable, it is necessary to be able to 
describe classes of documents and to verify individual documents' membership 
in these classes -- in other words, to be able to express constraints on 
documents and thus define 'document types'. XML inherits a mechanism for doing 
this from SGML: the Document Type Definition. XML DTDs can perform a subset of 
the functions of SGML DTDs.

DTDs have many well-documented flaws and it is necessary to experiment with 
new ideas in schema design. These ideas include a syntax that is more like 
that of XML document content, certain kinds of extensibility and a cleaner 
separation between parsing and verifying. XSchema is an experimental schema 
language designed to provide a starting point for these experiments.  So that 
XSchemas will be immediately useful with existing software, the XSchema 
specification will describe a conversion from XSchema documents to DTDs. 

This initial version of the XSchema specification is deliberately simple, 
providing an initial base for implementations while introducing as few 
complicating factors as possible. Authors accustomed to DTD creation will find 
their toolset constricted; it is hoped that supporting software and tools 
available from other standards will make up for this reduced toolset.

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