ANNOUNCEMENT: DSD - a new schema notation related to XSLT and CSS

Nils Klarlund klarlund at
Wed Nov 24 16:07:13 GMT 1999

A Document Structure Description (DSD) is a new and very effective way
of describing XML documents.  This new schema language is result of a
research collaboration between AT&T Labs, NJ and BRICS at the
University of Aarhus, Denmark.  The DSD language has arisen out of a
need to describe XML documents to Web programmers with an elementary
background in computer science.  DSDs have also been expressively
designed to further W3C sponsored XML technologies such as Cascading
Style Sheets (CSS) and XSL Transformations (XSLT).

CSS is an essential part of modern HTML, but has so far not been
formulated as a general style sheet mechanism for XML that works with
any semantic domain.  DSDs provide both a generalized semantics for a
CSS-like style sheet mechanism and document processing instructions
that provide the abstraction benefits of CSS in any XML document.

XSLT 1.0 is a programming notation that allows transformations of
classes of XML documents into semantic domains like HTML.  XSLT
programs are easy to write, especially if assumptions can be made
about the input documents.  The expressive power of DSDs allow
declarative and readable specifications of XML documents that are to
be subjected to XSLT processing.

DSDs require no specialized XML/SGML insights.  The technology is
based on general and familiar concepts that allow much stronger
document descriptions than possible with DTDs or the current XML
Schema proposal.  

For more information, please go to the DSD Web site:

We already offer

- a detailed, complete, and tested DSD 1.0 language description

- an introductory article

- free source code

- a meta-DSD that completely accounts for the syntax of DSDs

- an XSLT pretty-printer that converts DSDs into hyper-link HTML

- a preliminary industrial case report, where we discuss the use of
  DSD to describe XPML, a variation on HTML for interactive voice

We are encouraging comments and suggestions for further development!

Nils Klarlund, AT&T Research
Anders Møller, BRICS
Michael I. Schwartzbach, BRICS

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