Experimenting with Namespaces - DTDs?

Chris Smith smith at interlog.com
Tue Mar 31 23:05:06 BST 1998

On Mon, 30 Mar 1998, David Megginson wrote:

> Chris Smith writes:
>  > <E:Order>
>  >   <dsig:dsig>
>  >     <E:Manifest>80183589575795589189518915</E:Manifest>
>  >   
>  > My question is simply: what is the definition for "Order" ?
> You would have to do something like this:
>   <!ELEMENT E:Order (dsig:dsig, ...)>
>   <!ELEMENT dsig:dsig (E:Manifest, ...)>
>   <!ELEMENT E:Manifest (#PCDATA)>

I must admit I had considered this, but had rejected it since it
seemed to require that each DTD exist before the other DTD. In
addition, it hardly seemed reasonable for something as general as
dsig: to know - in the DTD - about all its uses. (This is why I
thought that the use of ANY or #PCDATA might be a way to facilitate
the experiments.)

> The Namespace WD does not propose any DTD changes, and the only
> existing spec for XML is the 1.0 REC -- making any changes to that
> would require a whole new process.

As a developer I don't want them to make lots of changes - I prefer a
stable standard.

But also as a developer, this seems to make this almost impossible to
even experiment with namespaces. As far as I can tell, DTDs are what
give you the ability to eXtend XML - without a comparable tool
involving namespaces, I can't specify what the eXtension is. The notes
suggest that changes to Namespaces are unlikely (not impossible,
just...). But changes to XML 1.0 also appear to be unlikely in the
near future. The only option available seems to be to ignore
Namespaces, since I can't find a way to use them that will give me any
benefits that XML hasn't already given me - unless I start to abandon
XML 1.0 in favour of a non-existent-non-standard XML 1.1 that has a
namespace aware DTD notation.

Possibly I have an unreasonable expectation? Namely, that I can
provide a DTD that makes use of 'plugged-in' DTDs from other domains -
but without requiring that I know this or rewrite the DTD? If I
rewrite the DTD every time I extend it, I don't see that much more
than the most basic of XML browsing tools will be able to handle the
resulting document. 

 Chris Smith                                          <smith at interlog.com>

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