DTD tools

Simon St.Laurent simonstl at simonstl.com
Fri Oct 8 19:10:12 BST 1999

I'm writing about a lot of DTD-intensive work, and I'm surprised by how few
tools appear to be available for working with XML DTD's.  I can write some
of the code myself, but I'm wondering if it's already out there.

Here's my wish list - I'd love to know if anyone else either has these
tools or would find them useful.

* DTD normalizer - takes a DTD (including the internal subset?) and
processes out all duplicate declarations (overrides) and sorts out
parameter entities, returning a 'final' copy of the DTD the parser will
actually use.

* DTD document validator - takes an arbitrary DTD and validates a document
against it.  The DTD needn't be the one specified by the document.  (I
asked for this one earlier, and there doesn't seem to be much.)

* DTD subset guide - takes a DTD and lets you chop out the parts you don't
want, while preserving compatibility with the original.

* automated mapping - takes documents arriving in one structure and maps
them to another.  Not necessarily DTD-dependent, but useful, especially if
given a friendly interface.  (Some possibilities have emerged in the
disillusionment discussion.)

* DTD map builder - produces a graphic representation of DTDs that use
external resources, identifying dependencies between modules and things
like overrides.  (Extensibility's XML Authority already provides useful
content model maps, but the outline for modules doesn't identify

* DTD extensions - standardized conventions for data typing within DTDs
(Extensibility's XML Authority has some very useful ones) and namespace
prefix mapping within DTDs and processors for applying these extensions to

Maybe this is all too much work for what I hear described more and more as
a legacy technology, but DTDs are a technology we have today, that's well
understood, and not very hard to convert to future schema approaches.

Simon St.Laurent
XML: A Primer, 2nd Ed.
Building XML Applications
Inside XML DTDs: Scientific and Technical
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