Dreadfully tedious questions

Joshua E. Smith jesmith at kaon.com
Tue May 4 03:23:44 BST 1999

I know you must get these a lot, but I've been unable to find the answers
in any of the usual FAQs.  Also, I've only read about the past month's
archive of this list (which did answer one of my questions, thanks), so I
apologize if this is old dirt -- just point me to the right month and I'll
find the answers myself!

My company is working on a really cool browser plug-in, and I'm thinking of
switching to an XML-derived language for use as the plug-in's scripting
language.  I want to do this in a way which is consistent with other uses
of XML, and I have some pretty basic questions:

0) What FAQ did I miss which answered these must-be-frequently-asked

1) What case do I use?

Judging from MathML and SVG documents I've read, it looks like the trend is
toward all lower case tags.  Is this the consensus style out there?  What
if my tag is two words?  Would:


or some other style be the preferred approach?  I know this may seem
unimportant to you, but believe me, programmers care about case A LOT!  I
want to be consistent with what everyone else is doing.

] The next question *was* going to be:
]2) How the heck do I decide whether to use an attribute or an element?
] But after reading about 100 messages on the subject in the Oasis
] archives, I've concluded there is no answer to this question!
] I'll rephrase...

2) Will the forthcoming very smart XML editors do better with one of these
over another?  [attributes/elements that is; this question derives from a
common answer that the editor you are using is a big determiner of what is
a better design, which struck me as a bizarre way to choose]

3) Is expat the best choice for embedding an XML parser in my plug-in (the
plug-in is written in C++, of course)?

4) Should I use one of the schema contenders to define my DTD?

I have a lot more to say about my elements and attributes than just their
syntax.  At a minimum I'd like to document each of them with a little
comment-size blurb.

If there's a good chance I could capture this together with the syntax
using one of the XML schema approaches, run that through a program to
produce the DTD, and later have the schema ready to provide to a very smart
XML editor (which could pop up tips based on my embedded documentation),
I'd rather invest the time to do that now.

Is one of the schema approaches winning the standards battle?  Do
schema->DTD translator tools exist?  Do the XML editor writing companies
realize how cool this capability would be?

5) Have the browser guys figured out how they're going to farm out
individual elements to plug-ins?

It's kind of obvious that XML is a really good way to fix the headache of
plugin/ActiveX/applet incompatibilities in HTML.  Isn't it?

Thanks in advance.  I promise future questions won't be so basic! ;)

-Joshua Smith

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