documenting schemas/DTDs

Thomas B. Passin tpassin at
Fri Nov 19 15:36:02 GMT 1999

-----Original Message-----
From: edwsm at <edwsm at>

>There's another school which holds that "syntax IS semantics".
>A DTD for X.509 certificates allows me to express what parts of the
>certificate I consider required, what parts of the certificate I
>optional, as well as the legal forms of the parts themselves.
>I can tell whether or not a certificate is valid, and also *why* (e.g.
>signature algorithm name was provided, the "not after" date was
>I think that if I can answer "why" questions, I'm operating in the
>Meaning may only be conveyed (manifested?) in "running code or
>human-readable prose", but the meaning is latent in the syntax, and
>couldn't be conveyed if it wasn't already there.

You can tell if the "not after" date is valid or not (syntax), but you
can't tell for what reason it has been included at all, what role it
plays in the system (semantics).  The meaning  is not "latent in the
syntax" at all.

Tom Passin

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