What is a "Public Identifier"?

Lars Marius Garshol larsga at ifi.uio.no
Fri Sep 18 11:26:46 BST 1998

* Mike Spreitzer
| I'm wondering if there is any standardization of what's in a "public
| identifier" 

The SGML standard (ISO 8879) defines something called a 'formal public
identifier' (clause 10.2), but whether public identifiers must be FPIs
or not is defined by the SGML declaration used.

In other words: public identifiers can be whatever you want, but you
can declare them to be FPIs.

The FPI syntax is described with BNF at


| and/or of how one is resolved to whatever it refers to.

The usual way to resolve a public identifier is to use a so-called
catalog file. Currently there are two syntaxes for catalog files SGML
Open Catalog files (supported by lots of SGML tools plus DXP and
xmlproc) and XCatalogs (supported by xmlproc).


| Yet there is a lot of regularity in the examples I see.  I've never
| seen anything specifying the structure used.  What am I missing?

Clause 10.2 of the ISO 8879 standard. The best place to get hold of it
is Goldfarbs The SGML Handbook, which has a lot of explanatory text
supplementing the standard itself.

--Lars M.

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